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Obama meets EU leaders on final trip

dpadpa 18/11/2016

US President Barack Obama is meeting key European leaders against the backdrop of a Donald Trump presidency and rising populism.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel is hosting a meeting of European leaders with US President Barack Obama, as the leaders seek to get on the same page amid the surprise election of Donald Trump and the rising strength of populist movements in Europe.

Aside from Merkel and Obama, British Prime Minister Theresa May, French President Francois Hollande, Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy and Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi are in attendance on Friday to talk about topics including the trans-Atlantic trade pact TTIP.

Though Trump promised a more protectionist approach to trade policy during his election campaign, it is unclear whether he will abandon efforts to push through TTIP, which Merkel and Obama argued on Thursday is key to shaping globalisation.

Other topics on the agenda in Berlin are the British exit from the European Union, the conflicts in Ukraine and Syria, the fight against international terrorism and the Greek debt crisis.

Many of the leaders convening in Berlin are facing political crises at home.

May is attempting to navigate her country's exit from the EU; Renzi is headed for a bruising defeat in a crucial constitutional referendum vote; while Rajoy recently resumed office as premier after months of political deadlock and an inconclusive electoral rerun.

After his last bilateral meeting with Merkel on Thursday, Obama warned his successor not to make deals with Russia for the sake of political convenience.

His European farewell tour, which ends on Friday, was intended to reassure allies disconcerted by Trump's impending presidency.

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