EU chief urges next US president to work closely with Europe

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BRUSSELS (AFP) – European Commission chief Jose Manuel Barroso on Wednesday urged the next US president to work with the EU to confront challenges like the financial crisis, ties with Russia and climate change.

“In these times of uncertainty, the EU needs the US and, yes, the US needs the EU more than ever,” the head of the EU’s executive arm said in a speech delivered at Harvard University, near Boston and distributed in Brussels.

On the global financial crisis, Barroso said that “the degree of interdependence of our economies requires careful coordination, not just in the coming weeks, but, crucially, in the longer term.”

“We need clear and effective rules, maybe commonly agreed rules, where appropriate, to ensure transparency and confidence in the market,” he said, in the speech: “A letter from Brussels to the next President of the United States of America”.

With the conflict in Georgia weighing heavily on international relations with Russia, Barroso said that “it is essential that we, on both sides of the Atlantic, continue to work together closely, that we stay the course.

“This is a time for cool heads, not Cold War,” he said.

More generally, he called on the eventual winner of the November presidential poll — either Republican candidate John McCain or his Democratic rival Barack Obama — to work with Europe toward a “new multilateralism”.

“We have the transatlantic marketplace, NATO, the Transatlantic Economic Council and other instruments,” he said. “But I think we should move beyond this and set an agenda of common action for a new multilateralism that can benefit the whole world.”

US President George W. Bush, who has been in power for nearly eight years, has been accused of bypassing the United Nations, and Barroso said “we need a renewed politics of global engagement, particularly with international institutions.”

He also urged Washington and Brussels to show joint leadership in the fight against climate change.

“We have a moral obligation to offer real, deep cuts in emissions in the medium term, not least because we are responsible for the bulk of past emissions,” he said.

“But we also need China and India to play their part in moving as quickly as possible to a low carbon economy,” he said. “So we must engage with India and China in a real dialogue on this.”

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