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Cooperation 'more important than ever'

November 16, 2016

US President Barack Obama has arrived in the German capital on the second leg of his final foreign tour. In an article written with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, he called for more bilateral unity and free trade.

US President Barack Obama at Berlin Tegel airport
Image: Reuters/F. Bensch

After a short flight from Greece, Air Force One touched down in Berlin on Wednesday evening, where Barack Obama is due to meet with German Chancellor Angela Merkel for the final time as US president. 

Obama previously described his German counterpart as "probably... my closest international partner these last eight years." Ahead of his arrival in Berlin, excerpts from a joint article emphasized the world leaders' mutual concerns. 

In a clear message to the US President-elect Donald Trump, Obama and Merkel said there "will be no return to a world before globalization."

On this note, the two world leaders said that their countries would have to seize the opportunity "to shape globalization according to our values and ideas."

Earlier on Wednesday, Obama also called inequality "the greatest threat to democracy."

Trump victory puts TTIP on hold

The text, which is due to be published in its entirety in the German economics magazine "Wirtschaftwoche," also promoted the TTIP trade agreement and climate protection. 

Employees and employers from both countries, as well as consumers and farmers, would "benefit from TTIP," Obama and Merkel wrote.

Since decisions in one country have an impact on others, rules are necessary "as they are currently being negotiated in TTIP."

The EU Commission has already put the TTIP negotiations on hold after Trump's election victory. Brussels and Washington, despite many years of efforts, had failed to complete TTIP even during Obama's second term in office. Trump won last week's US election after making campaign promises to tear up US free trade deals.

Barack Obama and Angela Merkel at the Hannover Messe
Obama describes Merkel as 'probably my closest international partner'Image: Getty Images/A. Körner

EU unsure of future with USA

Merkel and Obama also defended global climate protection targets: "The partnership between the US and Germany has also played a central role in reaching the Paris Climate Protection Agreement. It gives the world a framework for the common protection of our planet."

It is feared, however, that the incoming Trump administration will attempt to leave the Paris agreement. Prior to his election last week, Trump called global warming a "hoax," raising concerns among environmentalists and climate scientists that the United States would once again pull out of an international climate deal.

Before holding bilateral talks on Thursday, Obama and Merkel were due on Wednesday night to dine at Hotel Adlon, located next to Berlin's iconic Brandenburg Gate. During his visit, the president is also expected to meet with European leaders from the UK, France, Spain and Italy, as the continent desperately seeks clues to the future of the transatlantic relationship with Trump at the helm.

ksb/sms(Reuters, AFP, AP, dpa)