Angela Merkel gives Obama a very friendly welcome in stark contrast to meetings with Trump
Merkel and Obama have retained their friendship over the years, and this visit in particular comes at a crucial time for the two countries.
Former US President Barack Obama received a hearty welcome from the German Chancellor Angela Merkel upon his visit to Berlin on Friday. The two refused to answer journalists or even pose for a picture as they maintained that their reunion had absolutely no political connotation. However, it is believed that the pair had apparently met to discuss Trans-Atlantic relations during the hour and a half exchange.
On the other hand, Merkel's spokesman Steffen Seibert enhanced upon the fact that he "would firmly reject" any idea about the meeting being a direct signal to the present US President Donald Trump. Yet, it is no secret that Merkel shares a far better relationship with Obama than his descendant in the White House, Trump. Only a day before the former US President had received an almost rockstar-style reception in Cologne, where about 15,000 people gathered to hear him speak about activism, feminism, climate change and leadership, reports DW. Although he did not directly speak up against Trump, the air of disapproval was quite clear.
It seems that his meeting with Merkel was a part of this very trip to Germany, and perhaps as a way to way amend the relationship between the two countries which has deteriorated quite significantly over the last few years. While Obama stated that he was "confident and cautiously optimistic" that the United States would soon be a leader in climate protection again, he also mentioned, "If all young people went to the polls and voted for climate-friendly parties, they could bring about change very quickly.
In the same event in Cologne, he praised Merkel as his friend as he described her as a level-headed and compassionate leader. As the audience applauded to his comment, he stated, "Yes, she is worthy of applause."
Obama's visit to Germany comes at a crucial moment in the relationship between the two countries, especially after Trump lashed out at Merkel for lowering the country's military spending to below Nato targets. Reportedly, the latest German budget plan revealed that the spending on defense has dropped considerably below two percent of GDP expected from Nato member. The cuts were claimed by US ambassador Richard Grenell as a "worrisome signal" as Trump openly accused Germany of relying on US military. However, Merkel denied all criticisms claiming that she would not cut foreign aid to raise military spending.