President Barack Obama delivered a staunch defense of the European Union and North Atlantic Treaty Organization amid lingering doubts about the commitment of his successor Donald Trump to maintaining ties between the U.S. and its closest allies.
“The EU and NATO are extraordinary forces for peace and stability,” Obama said in an interview with Greece’s Kathimerini newspaper before visits this week to Athens and Berlin. “Europe is our largest economic partner and we have a profound economic interest in a Europe that is stable and growing.”
Trump’s victory drew a chilly reaction from some European leaders after the real-estate mogul in his campaign derided a free trade agreement that Obama’s administration has been negotiating with the EU and called NATO an “obsolete” alliance for which the U.S. pays “far too much.” German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said NATO allies are “irritated” with the president elect’s NATO comments, while European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker mocked Trump on Friday for having allegedly called Belgium a village.
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