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1ST LEAD Trudeau and Merkel discuss CETA, Trump foreign policy in Berlin By Thomas Lanig and Friederike Heine, dpa

Europe
17.02.2017
By our dpa-correspondent and Europe Online    auf Facebook posten  Auf Twitter posten  
Berlin (dpa) - Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Friday praised the CETA trade agreement between Canada and the European Union, describing it as both precedent-setting and a blueprint for future deals.

After talks with Trudeau at the chancellery, Merkel said that CETA - which was approved by EU lawmakers on Wednesday despite crowds of protesters outside the parliament - would be "of value to both sides" and "set a standard for future deals."

The vote on CETA in Strasbourg came after Trudeau delivered a pro-free trade message and underlined the progressive nature of the deal and how members of the European middle class would benefit from it.

The two leaders, whose meeting in Berlin on Friday was met with protests outside the chancellery, also discussed the administration of US President Donald Trump and its stance on NATO. Trump has referred to the military alliance as "obsolete," though he and his cabinet have since talked about how vital the alliance is.

At a meeting of defence ministers on Wednesday, US Defence Secretary James Mattis delivered an ultimatum to NATO member states, saying they should up their defence spending or risk Washington reducing its own contribution.

At Friday‘s press conference with Trudeau, Merkel signalled that Germany would heed the warning and make attempts to boost its defence spending. Trudeau did not comment on whether Canada would do the same.

Earlier this week, Trudeau attended his first meeting with Trump at the White House in an attempt to show the world he could find common ground with the new president.

Later on Friday, Trudeau is expected to have dinner with Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel at Berlin‘s Rotes Rathaus town hall.

 

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