Bush Meets with 'Friendly Faces' in Last Europe Trip

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President Bush is meeting with European leaders Tuesday in Slovenia for the annual U.S.-European summit. It's the first stop on the last scheduled European trip of his presidency. The weeklong tour will take him to Britain, Germany, Italy and France.

Host Renee Montagne talks to NPR's Don Gonyea, who is traveling with President Bush.

The president has never been popular in Western Europe, but on this final European trip, "he's finding friendly faces," Gonyea says: Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel, a longtime ally; French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who replaced Bush critic Jacques Chirac; and Italy's Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi.

The summit in Slovenia will cover familiar topics. President Bush wants to make sure European countries are living up to commitments to aid Aghanistan; he also wants them to take Iran's potential to become a nuclear power more seriously.

"They're also going to talk about the troubles with the U.S. economy. Certainly, there's a lot of worry about it spreading over into Europe, and high gasoline and oil prices affecting everyone," Gonyea says.

He says the typical protests that greet Bush on his European visits are not happening this time. "Europeans in general seem to be looking past this president already."



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