Obama in Germany: 35,000 Protest TTIP Trade Deal in Hannover
HANNOVER, Germany - About 35,000 protestors marched Saturday against the proposed Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), a day ahead of Barack Obama's visit, police said.Показать полностью… The president will use the annual CEBIT international trade fair in Hannover, northern Germany, to promote the deal, which would create the world's largest free trade area with approximately 800 million people. "A convoy with 30 tractors already started this morning and will be met by a large number of protestors in the city center," police spokeswoman Martina Stern told NBC News. Protesters demonstrate against Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) free trade agreement ahead of U.S. President Barack Obama's visit in Hannover, Germany. KAI PFAFFENBACH / Reuters The protest was organized by the so called 'anti-free-trade alliance', made up of numerous associations, including trade unions, environmental activists and church groups, who fear the TTIP could threaten Germany's environmental and legal standards. Analysts say that protestors in Germany rarely express worries about negative economic impacts of transatlantic trade. Instead, local criticism "has often focused on an increase in what is perceived as undue corporate influence, a feared lack of democratic control, as well as worries about threats to existing labor, environmental, and consumer protection standards in TTIP," Peter Sparding from the German Marshall Fund (GMF) wrote in an essay this week. The growing skepticism was also reflected Friday in a survey by Germany's Bertelsmann Foundation, which found that only one in five Germans are in favour of TTIP. The United States has seen strong public support for free trade, but there is particular uncertainty about TTIP. According to the Bertelsmann survey, "18 percent of US residents oppose the TTIP free trade agreement, while only 15 percent support it." Slogan 'Yes, we can Stop TTIP': more than 25k people protest EU-US trade pact ahead of #Obama visit, police tell NBC, #ttipdemo#TTIP— Andy Eckardt (@ameckardt) April 23, 2016 The "widespread and shared concern" regarding the current trade negotiations could be "a perceived lack of transparency," as GMF fellow Sparding wrote. In a speech marking the 500th anniversary of Germany's beer purity law, Chancellor Angela Merkel argued that medium-sized businesses could well benefit from a transatlantic trade partnership. Quoting German 16th century reformer Martin Luther, Merkel said: "He who does not have a beer, has nothing to drink."
Obama Brushes Off London 'Brexit' Backlash With Golf, Shakespeare
LONDON — President Barack Obama played a round of golf with Britain's prime minister and visited Shakespeare's original theater Saturday,Показать полностью… a day after his controversial intervention in the U.K.'s 'Brexit' referendum on European Union membership. The president teed off at The Grove, an exclusive course that is due to host the British Masters tournament later this year. It was a more relaxed affair than Friday, when Obama faced ferocious criticism from some senior lawmakers for urging British voters to choose to stay in the EU in the June 23 poll. In an op-ed in The Daily Telegraph on Friday, Obama wrote that continued membership would benefit European coordination on intelligence sharing, counterterrorism and economic growth. New York-born London Mayor Boris Johnson, who is leading the campaign for Britain to quit the EU, led a backlash by describing the president's comments as "incoherent" and downright hypocritical." Related: 'Brexit' Vote: Why Britain Could Quit EU and Why America Cares "The Americans would never contemplate anything like the EU, for themselves or for their neighbors in their own hemisphere," he wrote. "Why should they think it right for us?" "BARACK TURNS BULLY BOY," ran a Saturday headline in the conservative Daily Mail. The Murdoch-owned tabloid, The Sun, reported the president's intervention under the headline "BARACKMAIL." Britain's newspaper The Sun reported Obama's Brexit intervention under the headline "BARACKMAIL." Alastair Jamieson / NBC News Obama defended his intervention, saying, "I'm not coming here to fix any votes." He told a joint news conference with British Prime Minister David Cameron on Friday: "I'm not casting a vote myself. I'm offering my opinion. And in democracies, everybody should want more information, not less, and you shouldn't be afraid to hear an argument being made. That's not a threat." The president also responded to Johnson's accusation that Obama, whose father was from Kenya, a former British colony, harbored an "ancestral dislike of the British empire." Johnson said that explained why Obama removed of a bust of Winston Churchill from the White House. It took Barack Obama to crush the Brexit fantasy | Jonathan Freedland https://t.co/kCqoRaF11N— The Guardian (Максим Сизов) April 22, 2016 Obama answered by saying that a second bust of Churchill sat outside his second-floor office, where he sees it every day. His intervention was welcomed by Cameron and others. Former British ambassador to the U.S., Christopher Meyer, tweeted: "Obama only restated what the US has already told us. A bilateral trade deal will take second place to finishing TTIP negotiations e.g. 2020." Obama only restated what the US has already told us. A bilateral trade deal will take second place to finishing TTIP negotiations e.g. 2020.— Christopher Meyer (@SirSocks) 23 April 2016 The real Brexit is starting to look like an exit for Boris Johnson's political career— Raymond Snoddy (@RaymondSnoddy) April 23, 2016 Also Friday, Obama enjoyed a birthday lunch with Queen Elizabeth II, who turned 90 the day before, and met young Prince George, wearing a white bath robe. On Saturday, Obama played golf after answering questions from young Britons at a town hall event, and toured London's historic Globe theater, which is marking the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare's death.