EU’s Olli Rehn Grounded as Obama Arrival Snarls Brussels

Being a top-level European Union official has its limits.

Olli Rehn, the EU’s commissioner in charge of economic and monetary affairs, was made painfully aware of his status today when his flight to Frankfurt for a meeting of the European Central bank was delayed at Brussels. The reason was neither technical nor weather-related: It was a U.S. security lockdown to allow President Barack Obama and his entourage to land.

Rehn, a Finn who gained international prominence during the euro-area debt crisis, vented his dismay on Twitter at being blocked for take off.

“Stuck at #Zaventem on my way to #ECB Frankfurt,” he said. “Why? #Obama just landed.”

The U.S. president is in Brussels for a two-day meeting of leaders from the Group of Seven leading industrial nations. That, as yet, is a club to which Finland can only aspire.

“Is it really a virtue to have a #President who stops the traffic??” Rehn asked.

To contact the reporter on this story: Alan Crawford in Berlin at

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Alan Crawford at Leon Mangasarian, Eddie Buckle

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