Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock, you know President Obama is in Belgium today. As an American, I’m thrilled to finally have a US President that I voted for come to Brussels for a visit, even if a short one. Lots has been written in the build up about the cost and disruption, but despite the €10m price tag and traffic concerns, I think people are genuinely happy to welcome Mr Obama. Just take a look at Twitter this morning and all the welcoming comments from Belgians and expats alike (#ObamainBelgium #ObamainBrussels). Even folks in DC have taken notice of the importance of Brussels!
Obama is on quick tour of Europe (The Netherlands yesterday and Rome tomorrow) and is busy this morning seeing the Flanders Field American Cemetery in Waregem and then attending a EU-US Summit and NATO meetings this afternoon. He’s also giving a speech later at BOZAR which you can watch live (starts at 17:45).
Unfortunately President Obama isn’t expected to have much downtime for site seeing or chocolate shopping, like good old President Bush did back in 2005 when he visited the famous Mary’s chocolate shop. I’m sure most of us won’t get a chance to see him, or even a glimpse of The Beast (his limo) but it’s great to finally have him in the capital of Europe. Welcome Mr President and hope you enjoy Brussels!