$13.8M Belgium Bill for Obama's EU, NATO Visit

Image: $13.8M Belgium Bill for Obama's EU, NATO Visit President Barack Obama arrives at Huis ten Bosch for a dinner for delegates gathering for the Nuclear Security Summit hosted by King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima of the Netherlands on March 24.

Tuesday, 25 Mar 2014 01:06 PM

By Drew MacKenzie

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President Barack Obama's 24-hour visit to Brussels to attend European Union and NATO summits will cost the Belgium government a staggering $13.8 million, according to The Guardian.

The president, making his first visit to the country, will arrive Tuesday night with 900 staff and security personnel, as well as 45 vehicles and three cargo planes.

The city hosts four EU summits a year costing around $700,000 for extra police, military, and transport expenses. "But this time round, you can multiply that figure by 20," said Brussels Mayor Yvan Mayeur.

The Belgium security for the U.S. president will include a contingent of military and police officers surrounding The Hotel, a 27-story former Hilton in the city's main shopping district. The country also is laying on 350 security officials to line the president's routes to the EU and NATO summits on Wednesday, plus a convoy of nine helicopters will ferry Obama and staff to an American World War I cemetery that morning.

After the choppers land, Obama and his entourage will be driven in 30 armored vehicles to the cemetery and nearby battlefield, where he will be accompanied by Belgium's King Philippe and Prime Minister Elio Di Rupo as he lays a wreath.

The Guardian also reports that Obama will have a lunchtime meeting with European Council President Herman Van Rompuy and European Commission President José Manuel Barroso. He will then go to NATO's headquarters for a meeting with its secretary-general, Anders Fogh Rasmussen.


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