The President Abroad: A Look Ahead at Greece, Germany, and Peru

This week, President Obama headed out on Air Force One once more to meet with some of America’s closest allies who have partnered with us over the last eight years to bring about important progress.

First Stop: Athens, Greece

This is the President’s first trip to Greece and the final official state visit of his Administration. The visit fulfills his longtime desire to travel to Greece, given the deeply rooted U.S.-Greek friendship, our commitment to economic stability and prosperity, and the history of democratic values that we share.

While in Athens, the President met with Greece’s Prime Minister Tsipras to discuss economic issues; refugees and migration; and our NATO alliance. He also toured the Parthenon to see and experience the city’s history, and explore the roots of the democratic values that have been the foundation of so much human progress.

President Barack Obama and Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras participate in a joint news conference at Maximos Mansion in Athens, November 15, 2016. [AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais]

He also spoke directly to the Greek people about the important work that remains to address economic challenges both in Greece and Europe. We have worked with our Greek and European partners to help them recover from the greatest financial crisis of our lifetimes, and continued efforts are needed to address the challenges posed by globalization; to promote economic growth while combating inequality; and to reinforce the democratic governance that helps people and societies succeed.

Next Stop: Berlin, Germany

President Obama will then head to Germany on Wednesday, November 16, where he will meet with Chancellor Angela Merkel, who has been the President’s closest partner over the course of all eight years of his presidency. The two leaders have worked together on almost every issue  -- from restoring stability to the global economy, addressing the refugee crisis, combating climate change, and achieving the Iran Deal. They’ve also become close friends  --  so the President wanted to see her one last time in office to thank her for her partnership and leadership. The two leaders will have a bilateral meeting and also have dinner together.

U.S. President Barack Obama and Chancellor Angela Merkel wave to spectators before the President delivered a speech in front of the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, Germany, June 19, 2013. [AP Photo]

In Germany, he will also have an opportunity to meet with the leaders of some of America’s other closest allies: the United Kingdom, France, Italy, and Spain. Together, they’ll discuss the range of issues that we cooperate on with Europe, including the fight against ISIL, the refugee crisis, cooperation on counterterrorism, our next steps in Syria, the situation in Ukraine, and our commitment to the NATO alliance. Certainly, the recent U.S. election will be a topic of discussion, and the President will deliver the same message that he has offered to the American people about his commitment to do his part to ensure a smooth transition to his successor.

Last Stop: Lima, Peru

Finally, on Friday, November 18, the President will travel to Peru for his last APEC Summit, where he will have an opportunity to meet with leaders of countries that have been a focus of our foreign policy through our rebalance to the Asia Pacific. These countries account for one-third of the global GDP, 40 percent of global economic growth, two-thirds of the global middle class, has four of our top 10 trading partners, and five of our key treaty allies. There’s no question that this region must be a focus of the United States going forward, and that’s why the President has invested a lot of time strengthening our position in the Asia Pacific. You can learn more about that approach here.

The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Leaders’ Summit will be hosted in Lima, Peru.

In Lima, the President will have the opportunity to lay out his views on why he believes trade can be used to further our shared economic and national security interests, particularly agreements like the Trans-Pacific Partnership that include strong labor and environmental protections. He will also have bilateral meetings with the leaders of China and Australia. In all of his engagements, he will discuss the need to sustain U.S. engagement in the Asia Pacific, and our global efforts to promote economic growth, combat climate change, and uphold a rules-based international order.

Finally, the President will stop by the University of Peru to hold a town hall with members of the Young Leaders of Americas Initiative  --  an effort to support and accelerate the work of young business and civil society leaders from Latin America, the Caribbean, and the United States

Fifty-eight percent of the population in Latin America and the Caribbean is under 35. Despite important economic gains over the last decade, significant challenges  --  including limited access to jobs, capital, and advanced educational opportunities, and the availability of illicit employment opportunities  --  hold many youth back from reaching their full potential. YLAI will help address the opportunity gap for youth, especially women, by empowering entrepreneurs and civil society leaders. Given the President’s focus on empowering young people around the world, which has been a feature during much of his international travel, it is fitting that  --  in a world with so many challenges  --  he will have one more opportunity to meet with the generation that must do the long-term work of supporting positive change.

And that will wrap up the President’s trip overseas. He’ll return home to the White House on Monday, November 21. Keep following along on this page as the President’s trip unfolds.

About the author: Ben Rhodes is the White House Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communications & Speechwriting. 

Editor's Note: This entry originally appeared in the White House publication on Medium.com.

For more information:

President Obama delivers remarks during his foreign policy speech at the Hannover Messe Trade Fair in Germany. [Official White House Photo by Pete Souza]
Posted by Ben Rhodes
November 15, 2016

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