Obama visit: High security alert in Brussels


Brussels will be under a high security alert as the U.S. President , Barack Obama, arrives in Brussels. The cost of the Brussels lap in the Obama marathon will be more than €10m.

On Wednesday afternoon Obama will deliver the only speech of the tour in Europe and Saudi Arabia at the Palais des Beaux Arts in Brussels, an opportunity to present “his vision on transatlantic relations” and European security. On Monday and Tuesday he will attend the 3rd Nuclear Security Summit (NSS) in The Hague, for an update on the fight against the spread of nuclear materials. G7 discussions on the Ukrainian crisis are also planned, as he tries to gauge how far European allies are willing to go to stop Moscow from moving deeper into Ukraine after annexing Crimea.

The President will arrive on Tuesday night in Brussels, and the next morning he will visit Flanders Field American Cemetery in Waregem, housing the only graves in Belgium of American soldiers killed during the First World War. He will lay a wreath and meet King Philip and Prime Minister Elio Di Rupo, according to Deputy National Security Adviser, Ben Rhodes.

Back in Brussels, Obama will attend an EU-US summit in in the Justus Lipsius with the presidents of the European Council and the Commission, Herman Van Rompuy and José Manuel Barroso, followed by a joint press conference at 14h00.

Again, Ukraine will be on the agenda, but also Iran and negotiations to conclude a free trade agreement, known as the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).

Obama will then meet with the Nato Secretary General, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, to discuss how to strengthen the security of allies in Eastern Europe following Russia’s annexation of Crimea.