Updated April 5, 2019, 09:17
Since Thursday, Barack Obama has been touring Germany. At night, he appeared in front of more than 14,000 listeners at the Colony Lanxess Arena – the name of his successor, Donald Trump Obama, never mentioned. On Saturday he speaks to young people in Berlin. Between there is time for a conversation with Angela Merkel.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) welcomes former US President Barack Obama in Berlin for an exchange of views on Friday. The afternoon conversation was not public, a government spokeswoman said. The focus must be on the transatlantic relationship.
Relations between the US and Germany have deteriorated significantly since the inauguration of Obama's Republican successor, Donald Trump, as president of the United States. Between Merkel and Obama they developed in the period of eight years a kind of political friendship.
Listeners in Cologne celebrate Barack Obama
Obama has been in Germany since Thursday. At night, he performed for an hour in front of more than 14,000 listeners at Arena Colony Lanxess and was celebrated there. The Democrat politician expressed "confident and cautiously optimistic" that the US will soon be leading the climate protection camp again.
Of course, many are frustrated by the attitude of the current US government, but it should not be forgotten that the state of California, for example, consistently implements the Paris climate deal. In fact, Obama did not name his successor once – but it is good that the former presidents of the United States do not fail to meet the presidents of the United States in office, not bad at all.
Incidentally, he expects the young people, Obama said. If all the young people went to the polls and voted for climate friendly parties, they could quickly bring about change.
Obama also emphasized that decisions and discussions should be fact-based. "I'm a big fan of the values of the Enlightenment, like facts, reason, logic," said the 57-year-old. "Democracy is defined as allowing different opinions, but it can not work if fundamental facts are questioned."
No planned visit in Trump
An important point of contention between Merkel and Trump is the protectionist economic policy of the American. The chancellor also repeatedly criticizes Trump's "America First" policy, which means moving away from the multilateral approach to solving the international crisis. Especially against this background, this should also be seen as a sign that Merkel Obama now receives in Berlin. Especially since the chancellor in late May for a speech at the elite graduation ceremony of Harvard University in the United States travel – but apparently no trip to Trump plans to Washington.
On the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the founding of NATO, Merkel and Obama's demand for a significantly larger German contribution to the defense alliance should also play a role. By 2014, NATO members pledged to reach the 2 percent target of gross domestic product by 2024. Germany promised only 1.5 percent by 2024. Even Obama said Germany should pay higher contributions – but not as vehemently as Trump.
Saturday's "Town Hall" Meeting with Obama
Obama will attend a "City Hall" meeting in Berlin on Saturday. He wants to answer the questions of some 300 young people from all over Europe who are involved in areas such as civil society, integration and food security.
Obama has been to Berlin several times. Most recently, in May 2017, he participated in a podium discussion with Merkel at Kirchentag. (Dpa / FRA)
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image Teaser: © Inka English / THANKS / dpa