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European leaders hold final meeting with Obama in Berlin

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By Alasdair Sandford with AFP
European leaders hold final meeting with Obama in Berlin
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European leaders have gathered in Berlin for a final meeting with President Obama.

The outgoing US leader has declared himself “cautiously optimistic” regarding what is seen as a leap into the unknown with the future Trump presidency.

Obama was fulsome in his praise for Angela Merkel during Thursday’s talks, describing her as an “outstanding” and “tough” leader.

Germany’s Chancellor is expected to confirm soon that she will seek a fourth term in office in elections due later next year. Her Christian Democratic Party (CDU) has said Merkel will hold a news conference on Sunday evening.

Around the table in Berlin, the leaders of Britain, France, Italy and Spain joined them for the final time before the president leaves the White House in January.

Donald Trump’s future policies towards Europe and NATO remain uncertain but his isolationist and protectionist opinions have worried EU leaders.

Obama has called on his successor not to minimise the importance of the alliance between Europe and the United States.