President Obama Goes to Europe: Track His Trip

BY Larisa Epatko  May 23, 2011 at 9:57 AM EST


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President Obama will spend this week in Europe, meeting with dignitaries in Ireland, England and Poland. He’ll break away for the G8 summit in France, where he’s expected to ask for a financial plan to help struggling democracies Egypt and Tunisia.

Monday: President Obama arrives in Ireland, meeting with Irish President Mary McAleese and Taoiseach (Prime Minister) Enda Kenny, before giving a public speech there.

He’ll be visiting Moneygall, a village of 300, where his great-great-great grandfather Falmouth Kearney, a shoemaker, lived before leaving for New York City at age 19. The town is bedecked for the occasion in Irish and American flags, and souvenir shops that have spontaneously opened offer T-shirts that read “Obama is feidir linn” — “yes we can” in Irish.

President Obama is viewed as a pioneer in Ireland for being the first U.S. president who is African-American, said Deaglan de Breadun, political correspondent for the Irish Times.

“The Irish people have a strong sympathy for the civil rights movement in the U.S. and would be very much taken with the idea of the African-American community having one of its own as president,” he explained. “We often see our position in different countries as analogous to the position of African-Americans over the years.”

“It’s an enormous boost to have the president in our country,” said Ireland’s Ambassador to the United States, Michael Collins, at a May 18 briefing about the trip. “It gives us an opportunity to celebrate his background and for us to share the message that Ireland is on its way back.”

Tuesday: Obama arrives in London and attends a state dinner at Buckingham Palace. “There will be soldiers on horses and cannons letting off,” but it’s also a significant working visit, said Philip Barton, deputy head of mission for the British Embassy in Washington.

Wednesday: Mr. Obama will meet with Prime Minister David Cameron to discuss a common response to the rapid changes in the Arab world along with the situation in Afghanistan and Pakistan, Barton said. The president also is expected to speak to the British Parliament about the NATO campaign in Libya and Afghanistan war effort.

Thursday and Friday: Mr. Obama attends the G8 summit in Deauville, France. In a speech delivered Thursday, Obama called on the International Monetary Fund and World Bank to come up with a plan to help stabilize the economies in Egypt and Tunisia.

He also plans to have side meetings with French President Nicolas Sarkozy, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan.

Friday: Mr. Obama arrives in Poland and meets with Prime Minister Donald Tusk and Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski, where he is expected to talk about troop levels in Afghanistan, shale gas development, and Poland’s aversion to the program that requires Polish citizens to acquire a visa to visit the United States.

Polish Ambassador to the U.S. Robert Kupiecki pointed out that President Obama has said he would like to settle the visa waiver disparity by the end of his term.

Saturday: President Obama leaves Warsaw in the evening.

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