President Obama has decided not to attend a U.S.-European Union summit this spring, according to reports.
A State Department spokesman said that the decision stemmed in part from leadership changes in the EU.
"Because of the changes involving the establishment of a EU council president and a European commission president on top of the rotating EU presidency, I think it's taking some time to work through exactly how various high-level meetings will happen," said P.J. Crowley, according to the Guardian.
According to the NYT, European officials are not pleased:
In addition to the palpable sense of insult among European officials, there was a growing concern that Europe is being taken for granted and losing importance in American eyes compared to the rise of a newly truculent China.
European Union officials found out about the decision through the news media late on Monday, senior European officials said Tuesday morning. The Obama decision was first reported on the Web site of The Wall Street Journal.
The Spanish prime minister, José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, who is scheduled to arrive in Washington this week on a visit, was described as angry and embarrassed, and European officials said there was a set of high-level diplomatic exchanges overnight.