- Gideon Rachman in the Financial Times
"Europe listens with shining eyes, it mobs him in its thousands and claps and cheers – but when he says it's time they shared a bit more of the burden, they stare at their shoes."
- Janet Daley in The Daily Telegraph
Although Barack Obama has been greeted with adoring crowds in EVERY European capital, the warmth has not translated into tangible policy results.
European nations have made no long-term additional commitments to Afghanistan and very few combat troops. Only Britain is ready to increase its commitment of frontline forces - a reminder to the American President of the special relationship.
France and Germany vetoed the President's hope for a more expansionary fiscal policy from Europe.
France and Germany also poured cold water on President Obama's hope for a speedy accession of Turkey into the European Union.
In Ankara yesterday Mr Obama set out the case for accession:
Now, of course, Turkey has its own responsibilities. And you've made important progress towards membership. But I also know that Turkey has pursued difficult political reforms not simply because it's good for EU membership, but because it's right for Turkey.
In the last several years, you've abolished state security courts, you've expanded the right to counsel. You've reformed the penal code and strengthened laws that govern the freedom of the press and assembly. You've lifted bans on teaching and broadcasting Kurdish, and the world noted with respect the important signal sent through a new state Kurdish television station.
These achievements have created new laws that must be implemented, and a momentum that should be sustained. For democracies cannot be static -- they must move forward. Freedom of religion and expression lead to a strong and vibrant civil society that only strengthens the state, which is why steps like reopening Halki Seminary will send such an important signal inside Turkey and beyond. An enduring commitment to the rule of law is the only way to achieve the security that comes from justice for all people. Robust minority rights let societies benefit from the full measure of contributions from all citizens."
Max Hastings, writing in the Daily Mail, believes that that will be much easier when the American economy is motoring again: "Once the U.S. is back doing what it does best, providing the engine and inspiration for the world's economic growth, much else will become possible." We shall have to see if Mr Hastings is right. Bush was the excuse for European indifference. Now the excuse is the economy. At some point Europe will run out of excuses.