WASHINGTON, Nov. 28 (UPI) -- While much has changed since the 2010 U.S.-EU summit in Portugal, the fundamental bond between America and the bloc remains the same, President Obama said.
"What hasn't changed," Obama said Monday during a U.S.-EU summit in Washington, "is the fundamental bonds that exist between the European Union and the United States, our common values, our common belief in the rule of law, in democracy, in freedom, in a free market system."
All of these characteristics "bind us together," as do economic, commercial and people-to-people relationships that the two entities have.
President Obama, European Council President Herman Van Rompuy, European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso and High Representative Catherine Ashton met to discuss issues of mutual concern, including the global economy and strengthening economic ties; joint work to support democracy and prosperity in Europe, the Middle East, North Africa, and in other regions; coordination on Iran; and commitment to improved transatlantic law enforcement and counter-terrorism cooperation.
Obama said the United States "stands ready" to help Europe to resolve the debt crisis.
"This is of huge importance to our own economy. You know, if Europe is contracting or if Europe is having difficulties, then it's much more difficult for us to create good jobs here at home because we send so many of our products and services to Europe, it is such an important trading partner for us," Obama said. "And so we've got a stake in their success, and we will continue to work in a constructive way to try to resolve this issue in the near future."
On security, Obama said the leaders discussed the need to maintain pressure on Iran to "stand down" in its development of nuclear weapons, "emphasizing that we continue to hope for a resolution that allows them to use peaceful nuclear energy in a way that's consistent with their international obligations."
Obama said the United States and the European Union have a "shared stake" in ensuring success in Afghanistan.
The European Union and the United States "have the strongest trade and economic relationship in the world. And we therefore both need to take strong action to address near-term growth concerns as well as fiscal and financial vulnerabilities," Rompuy said.
The global economy hasn't been able to absorb and overcome" the effects of the 2008 financial crisis, Barroso said.
"We face the common challenge of bringing debt under control, while re-launching growth and creating new jobs," he said, expressing confidence in the EU leadership to tackle the issue. "We all know this is not an easy task."