Today Chancellor Angela Merkel, as EU Council President, takes part in the EU-USA Summit in Washington. Alongside a transatlantic economic partnership, the talks will focus on climate protection and an agreement to liberalize air transport.
The transatlantic economic partnership is designed to further enhance the already strong cooperation on economic issues. Trade between the two economic areas is currently still hampered by a large number of bureaucratic obstacles, as well as by different standards and conditions. This situation is to be ameliorated.
In an interview with Bild am Sonntag Chancellor Merkel emphasized that the agreement she would sign together with President George W. Bush represented "real progress for Europe and Germany". She underlined that this initiative was not directed against other countries but was open to other partners.
Apart from this, the agenda features topical foreign and security issues, including developments in Iran and the use of nuclear energy, as well as overall trends in the Middle East.
Participants on the European side for the Federal Government include, apart from Chancellor Merkel, Federal Ministers Steinmeier, Glos and Tiefensee. For the Commission, alongside President José Manuel Barroso, Vice-Presidents Verheugen and Barrot and Commissioners Mandelson and Ferrero-Waldner will take part. High Representative Solana will of course also be in the delegation.
In the margins of the Summit the EU-US Air Transport Agreement will be signed by the transport ministers and the responsible Commission Vice-President, Barrot.
In addition the Chancellor will officially hand over the "Waldseemüller Map" to the Library of Congress. In 1507 the German cartographer Martin Waldseemüller drew the first real map of the world. This was the first map to feature the name "America" for the new continent. This handover is fine evidence of the closeness of the German-American friendship.
The annual EU-USA Summits give the two sides an opportunity to regularly look at their relations and to further develop their cooperation. The Summits take place alternately in Washington and Europe, and were established in 1990.