Pooling forces for growth and security
The second period of office of President Barack Obama is just starting in the USA. His Vice President’s first foreign trip brought him to Germany; as Joe Biden said, an indication of just how important America considers Europe, and Germany.
"Thank you for this friendship"
Angela Merkel and Joe Biden pointed to the wide range of issues that today shape the transatlantic agenda. They agreed that transatlantic relations are crucially important for both Germany and the USA. The USA is "not only an incredibly important partner, but also a good friend," said Angela Merkel. "We would like to thank you for this friendship," she said, and added that is important to keep working at a friendship.
The Chancellor declared that she would like to explain to her visitor the situation in Europe and to discuss with him ways of overcoming the crisis in the euro zone. She did have "some good news" for the Vice President, said the Chancellor before their two-hour meeting, which also covered the financial-policy situation in the USA.
For a free trade agreement
Particularly in view of globalisation, Europe and the USA must stick together, she said. The Chancellor declared that she will be working for a free trade agreement between the European Union and the USA. She is very grateful that the re-elected President has, "put this on the agenda on his own initiative". There is also a need for discussion on the subject of international financial market regulation and global economic growth, she added.
Cooperation is also very close on security issues – not only in Afghanistan, but "worldwide in the fight against terrorism," declared Angela Merkel. With the Vice President she discussed a series of topical concerns, including the situation in Afghanistan, Syria and Mali, as well as the current status of the Middle East Peace Process.
Shock and dismay at the attack on the US Embassy
Their meeting took place shortly after an attack on the US Embassy in Ankara. The Chancellor expressed her condolences to all those affected.
The American Vice President will be travelling on to the Munich Security Conference, where he will be giving a speech outlining the foreign policy of the new Obama administration.
The Munich Security Conference is seen at international level as one of the most important meetings in the fields of foreign and security policy. Heads of state and government, politicians responsible for security and representatives of the armed forces, industry and the research community meet to discuss topical crises.
Also attending the conference are NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen and the EU’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Lady Ashton. German participants include Federal Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle, as well as Federal Defence Minister Thomas de Maizière, Federal Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble, Federal Interior Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich and Federal Economics Minister Philipp Rösler.