Obama Stresses Continuity and Solidarity In Final Europe Visit

Leo Timm
By Leo Timm
November 17, 2016News
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Obama Stresses Continuity and Solidarity In Final Europe Visit
German Chancellor Angela Merkel, right, and U.S. President Barack Obama brief the media after a meeting at the chancellery in Berlin, Thursday, Nov. 17, 2016. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber).

President Barack Obama has highlighted the importance of cross-Atlantic relations as he pays visits to European leaders in what is to be one of his final trips as the U.S. leader.

The trip comes days after Donald Trump won the presidential election on Nov. 8.

In Germany, where Obama has enjoyed high popularity ratings since his election in 2008, the president dined with Chancellor Angela Merkel in the evening of Nov. 16, when he arrived from Greece.

It is Obama’s sixth and final visit to Germany, which is a staunch U.S. ally and key NATO member. When the newly-elected president first arrived in 2008, he was greeted by a 200,000-strong crowd.

Angela Merkel, who has served as German chancellor since 2005, has had a friendly working relationship with Obama. On Nov. 9, the day Trump was confirmed victor of the election, she congratulated him and offered Germany’s “close cooperation,” but emphasized it would be on the basis of what she said were “shared values.”

Trump ran on an America-focused and socially conservative platform, tapping into widespread grass-roots concerns about the economic and cultural impacts of globalism.

German officials have been hopeful that Trump will maintain strong commitments to cooperation with NATO and the EU. “I think one will see that Mr. Trump will have his own political suggestions, but that the USA won’t be a different country tomorrow,” said Peter Tauber, general secretary of Merkel’s political party, told reporters in Berlin.

Obama and Merkel penned a joint opinion piece published by German weekly business magazine Wirtschaftswoche, in which they emphasized the benefits of strong American-EU relations in trade, defense, and combating climate change.

“That friendship is based on our shared commitment to personal freedom and dignity, which only a vibrant democracy under the rule of law can guarantee,” the leaders wrote.

While in Berlin, Obama is scheduled to meet with the leaders of France, Italy, Spain and Britain on Nov. 18. He’s expected to address Trump’s election and the direction the U.S. might take during the president-elect’s four-year term.

Obama endorsed Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton in the election, but expressed his hope that Trump will be a successful U.S. president. They two have met in the Oval Office and plan for future collaboration.

“This office is bigger than any one person, and that’s why ensuring a smooth transition is so important,” Obama said in Athens. “Campaigning is different from governing. I think he recognizes that.”

(NTD Television)

Featured image: German Chancellor Angela Merkel, right, and U.S. President Barack Obama brief the media after a meeting at the chancellery in Berlin, Thursday, Nov. 17, 2016. Credit: AP Photo/Markus Schreiber

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