President Barack Obama praised Chancellor Angela Merkel for being on “the right side of history” with her open-border refugee policy.
Obama arrived in Hanover, Germany, Sunday for free trade discussions and the opening the world’s largest industrial fair. During a joint press conference with Merkel, Obama expressed his admiration for the chancellor and the way she’s dealt with the refugee crisis.
“I believe that chancellor Merkel’s approach to the refugee crisis — and that of many Germans — has been courageous,” Obama said. “I have valued chancellor Merkel’s thinking and perspective on a whole range of global issues throughout my presidency.”
Merkel visited Syrian refugees in Greece Saturday and proposed “safe zones” in Syria for refugees. The safe zones would be run by an international coalition and provide food and shelter to Syrians. Obama said such a solution would be impossible without the U.S. “essentially being willing to take over a chunk of that country.”
“We remain deeply concerned about the upsurge in fighting in Syria over the last several days, and we continue to agree that the only real durable solution is a political solution that moves Syria towards an inclusive government that represents all Syrians,” Obama said.
Obama’s Eurotrip to Germany and the United Kingdom — where he campaigned for Britain remaining in the European Union — will likely be his last as president. Thousands of Germans protested the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership proposal upon Obama’s arrival, which he is hopeful to have outlined by the end of the year. (RELATED: Germans Ordered To Stay Away From Windows When Obama Comes To Town)
“Angela and I agree that the United States and the European Union need to keep moving forward with the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership negotiations,” Obama said. “I don’t anticipate that we will be able to have completed ratification of a deal by the end of the year, but I do anticipate that we can have completed the agreement.”
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