Obama to give speech in Berlin to mark Reformation anniversary

Edited by walterp on . Posted in Main

Obama will join Chancellor Angela Merkel and other dignitaries at the four-day festival.

He is believed to be making a speech at the closing event in Berlin to mark the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. It would be his first public talk since his second term came to an end in January.

The former president can likely look forward to a warm welcome in Germany, where he still enjoys a favorable reputation despite revelations that the NSA once tapped Chancellor Merkel’s cell phone under his watch.

Obama visited Germany six times as president, but he captured the hearts and minds of Germans before he was even elected. In 2008, hundreds of thousands gathered to hear him speak at the Victory Column, or Siegessäule, in Berlin.

“President Barack Obama’s attending the Kirchentag in Berlin, which will ring in the Reformation Summer, underlines the international character of our 500th anniversary celebrations,” Bishop Heinrich Bedford-Strohm, the Evangelical Church in Germany Council chair, said in a statement.

“Anyone who is pious also has to be politically minded,” he added. “I am looking forward to enthusiastic debates during the Reformation Summer 2017.”

Despite tensions that emerged after revelations of the wire-tapping in 2013, the American and German leaders were seen as having a cooperative relationship. During a trip to Germany in November, Obama called Merkel his “closest ally.”

President Trump, however, has been more critical of the German leader for what he has called open-border policies and Germany’s willingness to offer asylum to refugees.

Trump met with Merkel for the first time at the White House last month.


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