Thorning-Schmidt and Obama talk debt and daughters

In arguably her biggest moment on the international stage to date, Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt enjoyed a 40-minute meeting with US President Barack Obama, with the pair swapping tips on everything from the economy to parenting.

Obama played host at the White House on Friday, with the two leaders covering a range of topics including the ongoing bloodshed in Syria and the European debt crisis.

Recycling the same compliment used to flatter former PM Lars Løkke Rasmussen less than a year ago, the American president said Denmark has “punched above their weight” in Lybia and Afghanistan. In a more personal recognition however, Obama said the White House has been “very impressed with the first five months of [Thorning-Schmidt’s] prime ministership”.

Talking to the press after the meeting, President Obama said, “Like folks here in the United States, everybody in Denmark wants to talk about the economy all the time, and jobs and growth,” reports the Copenhagen Post. “We agreed that there has been some progress in resolving the sovereign debt issues, that there has been some progress with respect to the agreements between the EU and the IMF and Greece, the new government in Italy, new governments in Spain and Portugal are all making significant progress, but that there’s a lot more work to do. And we will be consulting closely with Denmark,” the President added.

Thorning-Schmidt said she is thankful for “the friendship and the alliance between our two countries,” but added that, “a closer transatlantic relationship will be important” during the European debt crisis. She also paid tribute to the US for the recent rescue operation that saw a Danish aid worker freed from Somali pirates.

Once all the business was addressed however, the two leaders relaxed and found time to chat a little about their roles as parents.

“The final thing we talked about was the fact that we both have two daughters; they’re roughly the same ages,” Obama said, according to CHP. “We traded notes. The Prime Minister’s daughters are slightly older than Malia and Sasha. She assures me that they continue to behave themselves, even well into their teenage years, so I’m encouraged by the report,” he added.

(Large hopmepage photo by Mogens Engelund)