By Gregorio Bettiza

When Americans elected a new president in November 2008, Europeans hoped that the partnership between the two continents would be renewed. An Obama-mania pandemic infected the Old Continent during his campaign. With Bush gone, observers in Berlin, Rome, London and Paris were predicting a new era of transatlantic cooperation. If 80% of Europeans held a favourable opinion of the newly elected president, on the other side of the Atlantic Americans expected to cash in on Washington’s newfound legitimacy and soft power. The hope was that Europeans would be more willing to cooperate and more capable of doing so; particularly as the EU finally completed the ratification process of the Lisbon Treaty in November 2009. The new Obama administration hoped it could now count on a willing and streamlined European partner with one – or two at the most – phone numbers to call in case of need: those of the newly appointed President of the European Council or that of Europe’s High Representative and Foreign Minister.