About 2,500 EU officials working in Brussels stayed at home on Feb. 22. They were asked not to come to their places of employment for security reasons as US President George W. Bush paid his first official visit to the union's capital on that day. One day later, Bush visited the German city of Mainz and the city resembled a ghost town as businesses decided to remain closed under the impact of high security measures. Then, the US president went to the Slovak capital Bratislava for talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
The American had a lot on the agenda for the visit: While the future of NATO, the Iran and North Korean nuclear crises and tensions with Syria were key points in discussions with EU leaders, Bush also wanted to mend ties with "old Europeans," French President Jacques Chirac and German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder, who opposed the war in Iraq.
"My first goal is to remind both Americans and Europeans that the transatlantic relationship is very important for our mutual security and for peace," he told reporters. "We have differences sometimes, but we don't differ on values."
To catch up on recent developments in EU-US relations, please check out this collection of recent DW-WORLD stories.