Addressing major challenges together

Six leaders’ meeting at the Federal Chancellery Addressing major challenges together

At their meeting, Chancellor Angela Merkel and President Obama discussed further steps in Syria and Iraq, as well as the fight against the so-called IS, with French President François Hollande, Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy and British Prime Minister Theresa May.

Chancellor Angela Merkel sits with American President Barack Obama, Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, Mariano Rajoy, President of the Government of Spain, French President François Holland and British Prime Minister Theresa May.

At the six leaders’ meeting talks focused on urgent matters of foreign policy

Photo: Bundesregierung/Bergmann

They agreed that the humanitarian situation must be improved in the embattled eastern parts of Aleppo, reported Chancellor Angela Merkel after the meeting. They also looked at the situation in the Syrian city of Raqqa and the Iraqi city of Mosul, both held by IS. The anti-IS coalition is currently fighting to liberate both. It is important to begin to stabilise liberated areas at an early stage, declared the participants in the meeting.

Unsatisfactory progress in Ukraine

With a view to the situation in Ukraine, Angela Merkel reported that those present at the meeting had affirmed their support for the existing Normandy format and the ongoing close consultation with the USA. All participants wished to see progress with what is known as the Minsk process. Unfortunately, said Angela Merkel, there is still "not enough progress here".

Joint platform on shared values

On Thursday Chancellor Angela Merkel and President Barack Obama already agreed that the European Union and the United States of America must continue their endeavours to finalise the trade agreement, while giving globalisation a human face.

Relations with the USA are a cornerstone of Germany’s foreign policy, Chancellor Angela Merkel stressed on Thursday at a joint press conference with President Barack Obama. These relations are governed on the one hand by interests, but are also based on values. "Here we stand on a common platform of democracy, liberty, standing up for human rights around the world, and efforts to achieve an open and liberal world order."

Angela Merkel thanked Barack Obama "for the good, friendly and intensive cooperation" over the last eight years, on this basis. She stipulated though, that she will "do all she can to work well with the newly elected president".

Common platform on values

Barack Obama commended the "compassion and the strong leadership demonstrated by Angela Merkel and the German people" in rebuilding the reunited Germany as of 1990. Anyone wanting to create a peaceful society would do well to look to Berlin, he said, and to the example of Angela Merkel.

The Chancellor stressed that she has always declared her support for a trade agreement between the European Union and the USA – the two large trading regions of the world. She and Barack Obama share the "conviction that globalisation must have a human face, and that it must be shaped at political level, but that there is no way back to the pre-globalisation era".

With a view to the Paris Agreement on climate change, Angela Merkel praised the dedication of Barack Obama. Without his commitment both inside the USA and in negotiations with China "there would have been no agreement of this sort". The agreement, she added "points the way forward for the entire world".

President Obama talks to the German government’s social media team:

Video Interview with Barack Obama, President of the United States of America

Gradual extension of security-policy engagement

Germany and the USA are working together in the field of security policy in many parts of the world, stressed Angela Merkel, and pointed to common efforts in Afghanistan and Iraq by way of example. It must, however, be seen that the USA is shouldering the brunt of this burden.

"That is why I take very seriously the comments of the President, that Germany and the European states as a whole will gradually have to step up their engagement within NATO," said Angela Merkel. The current imbalance in defence spending cannot be sustained in future. Germany has "understood this message and begun to respond".

President Obama in Germany
Barack Obama made his first official visit to Germany as President at the start of April 2009, when he visited Baden-Baden and the French-German border city of Kehl, for the NATO summit. With the other NATO leaders he symbolically crossed the border into France on foot, on a bridge across the Rhine. His second visit at the start of June 2009 took him to Dresden, the Buchenwald concentration camp and memorial site close to Weimar, and the American military hospital at Landstuhl. In mid-June 2013 Barack Obama visited Berlin for the first time as President, and spoke at the Brandenburg Gate. At the start of June 2015, the President of the United States of America visited Schloss Elmau in the Bavarian town of Krün for the G7 summit. At the end of April of this year, President Obama’s most recent visit took him to Hannover, where he and Chancellor Angela Merkel together opened the Hannover Messe trade fair.