Transatlantic cooperation absolutely essential
Syria, Libya, Ukraine, Afghanistan, the European refugee crisis – the list of current crises and challenges is long, as Chancellor Angela Merkel pointed out very clearly right at the start of the joint press conference with President Barack Obama on Sunday. She said she was very happy to have the opportunity to discuss the entire spectrum of these issues with President Obama in these "turbulent times". She thanked the President for the "talks which took place in a spirit of great trust and friendship".
President Obama stressed that with respect to refugee policy, he is "very proud of the German people".
Fight against terrorism can only be won by joining forces
Bilateral relations between Germany and the USA are very good, said the Chancellor. That is why they were able to focus more on international challenges. Angela Merkel stressed that the fight against terrorism, the efforts to tackle the root causes of refugee movements and initiatives to enhance security in general can only be effective with "common transatlantic efforts".
She expressed her "great concern" in view of the fragile truce in Syria. This makes it all the more important to bring the Geneva talks "to a successful conclusion" she said. These talks are also to focus on setting up "safe zones" for displaced persons within Syria.
Given the situation in Libya, she reported that she agreed with President Obama that it is now important to "look to the future" and establish a stable government of national unity. This is not easy given the conditions in the country, including the tribal culture.
Transatlantic cooperation absolutely essential
Asked about cooperation within NATO, Angela Merkel pointed out that in recent years Germany has "become more active on many issues". The weapons supplied to the Peshmerga fighters in northern Iraq "marked a paradigm change". With a view to NATO, Angela Merkel said, "We are fully aware of the objectives that NATO gives us." Germany, she said, intends to become better.
The situation of the Bundeswehr, continued the Chancellor, "now reflects Germany’s international responsibility". In the field of security policy, "Transatlantic cooperation is absolutely essential for our own security," she added.
Thanks to the USA for support in the Aegean
She said that she is very grateful that the USA is continuing to support the NATO mission in the Aegean. This is evidence of transatlantic efforts, she pointed out. Germany too is expressing its readiness to engage to a greater extent in the form of missions in many parts of the world, including Iraq and Mali, said Angela Merkel.
Germany is also willing to continue its military engagement in Afghanistan. "We are very grateful to the USA that they are willing to continue to bear a great responsibility in this context. Our message to the Taliban must be that the international community will not abandon Afghanistan," said the Chancellor.
In her talks with President Obama, the Ukraine crisis was also on the agenda. "We stand by the Minsk agreements and attach a great deal of importance to seeing these agreements implemented as swiftly as possible."
Angela Merkel on TTIP – We must get our skates on!
At the end of her statement, Angela Merkel touched on the planned Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). From a European point of view, she said, this would be "very helpful" to enable the European and German economies to grow. "We should get our skates on!" said the Chancellor, urging a swift conclusion of negotiations. She thanked President Obama for his support for TTIP.
Official opening of this year’s Hannover Messe
Later in the afternoon, in her opening speech at Hannover Messe, Chancellor Angela Merkel said, "A lot has been said about TTIP." But here at Hannover Messe, she continued, the transatlantic partnership can be seen and felt first hand. "From the outset the USA has been an important partner for this trade fair," said Angela Merkel.
In the evening the Chancellor hosted a dinner in honour of the American President, attended by business representatives from the two countries. On Monday morning the President and the Chancellor will undertake the traditional opening tour of the trade fair.
This year’s Hannover Messe is dedicated to integrated industry. "Integrated Industry - Discover Solutions" is the motto. More than 5,200 exhibitors from 75 countries will be presenting their technologies for the factories and energy systems of the future from 25 to 29 April. A total of 465 American exhibitors will be there – the largest number of US companies ever to exhibit at any trade fair outside the USA.
Summit meeting in Herrenhausen Palace
This is to be followed by a meeting with three more EU heads of state and government, whom the Chancellor has invited to Hannover: the French President François Hollande, the British Prime Minister David Cameron and Italy’s Prime Minister Matteo Renzi will meet with Angela Merkel and Barack Obama at Herrenhausen Palace in Hannover.
Their agenda is likely to include the refugee crisis, the war in Syria and Ukraine conflict.