US President Barack Obama arrives at Athens International airport Eleftherios Venizelos, in Athens, Greece on November 15, 2016. U.S. President Barack Obama arrives in Greece – his first trip to the country, and the final state visit of his administration – with agenda today including an arrival ceremomy and meeting with President Prokopis Pavlopoulos, bilateral meeting and press conference with Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, and state dinner with Pavlopoulos. Visit is intended to ‘reaffirm U.S. support for ongoing efforts to place the Greek economy on a path to sustainability and renewed prosperity’ and ‘make clear U.S. appreciation for the remarkable generosity shown by the Greek Govt and people to refugees and migrants’.
Obama, who has blamed the excoriating effects of austerity on Europe’s slowing growth, said while Athens needed to implement reforms, a nominal write-down would help reignite an economy that has lost over 25% of its output since the nation’s financial woes first surfaced seven years ago. At around €330bn (?284bn), or 180% of gross domestic product, Greece’s staggering debt is by far the biggest in the EU.
“That is why I will continue to urge Greece’s creditors to take the steps needed to ensure the country is well placed to return to robust economic growth, including by providing meaningful debt relief,” he said in the interview. “Getting that done would not only fuel the Greek economic recovery, it would show that Europe can make its economy work for everyone.”
Obama is the fourth US leader who visits Greece.
On November 17-18, the President will visit Germany, where he will meet with Chancellor Merkel to review our close cooperation on a wide range of bilateral, regional, and trans-Atlantic issues. Among the issues on the agenda will be our common efforts to resolve the conflicts in Ukraine and Syria, the campaign to degrade and destroy ISIL, as well as trans-Atlantic economic relations. This visit will mark President Obama’s sixth visit to Germany, reflecting the strategic importance of our partnership with Germany and the close ties between the American and German peoples. The President will also have one last opportunity to meet with his “Quint” counterparts, the leaders of Germany, France, Italy, and the United Kingdom, to review a range of global issues.
The President will then travel to Peru from November 18-20 to attend the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Leaders’ Summit, underscoring the United States’ support for the Asia Pacific’s regional institutions and efforts at regional economic integration through trade and investment liberalization. The President will meet with the Leaders of the other Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) member countries, as he has done every year on the margins of APEC since 2011. The President will focus on his continued efforts to make the case to Congress and the American people for approval of TPP without further delay. He will emphasize our continued support for the agreement’s high, enforceable standards that will benefit American workers and businesses while furthering our national security imperatives in the Asia Pacific. President Obama will also hold a bilateral meeting with President Kuczynski to affirm and review progress on our bilateral agenda of supporting private sector-led growth through inclusive and environmentally sustainable economic policies, advancing democracy and human rights, and enhancing our people-to-people ties.