President Obama arrived on a valedictory visit to Germany on Sunday to see his “friend” Chancellor Angela Merkel, but their show of unity looked unlikely to silence opposition to their push for a transatlantic trade pact. Obama jetted into Hanover aiming to advance negotiations on what could become the world’s biggest free trade agreement, the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). Both sides say they aim to see it finalized, at least in its broad outlines, before Obama leaves office in January. However, Merkel’s Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel cast doubt on those ambitions on Sunday, warning the deal “will fail” if the United States refuses to make concessions in the protracted talks.
I consider Angela one of my closest partners and also a friend. She embodies many of the leadership qualities I admire most. She’s guided by both interests and values.
His comments came a day after tens of thousands of people marched against the US-EU free trade deal through the streets of Hanover, where Obama and Merkel are to open what is billed as the world’s largest industrial technology fair on Sunday night. Today, while the United States has a “special relationship” with Britain and France is America’s “oldest ally”, Germany has become Washington’s “indispensable partner.” Mr Obama flew into Germany after causing a political storm in Britain with his views on how long the UK would have to wait to secure a similar trade deal should the country vote to leave the EU. He warned it could take up to a decade to strike a deal post-Brexit.
I have valued chancellor Merkel’s thinking and perspective on a whole range of global issues throughout my presidency. You have been a trusted partner throughout my entire presidency, longer than any world leader, and I value your judgement.