Obama to join Merkel at Protestant gathering in Berlin

U.S. President Barack Obama speaks during his last press conference at the White House in Washington, U.S., January 18, 2017.

Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel enjoyed a drink together during the former President's 2013 trip to Berlin.

The former president is scheduled to sit down with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin for a panel discussion about democracy in May.

Bishop Heinrich Bedford-Strohm, the chair of the Evangelical Church in Germany, said he invited the former president to the event a year ago.

The topic of discussion will be "Being Involved in Democracy: Taking on Responsibility Locally and Globally" at a forum sponsored by the German Protestant Kirchentag and the Obama Foundation to celebrate the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation. "I don't know any German politician who would claim that is reachable nor desirable", Gabriel said at a gathering of foreign ministers March 31 in Brussels.

Bedford-Strohm noted he invited Obama to visit Germany for the Reformation anniversary in May of past year.

The Obama-Merkel appearance is expected to occur prior to President Trump's first meeting with Merkel overseas, at the Group of 20 summit in Hamburg in July, the Associated Press notes.

In any case, Merkel's strong showing should be welcomed by Washington-if only because her rival is already signaling that he would be less than cooperative with the Trump administration.

Schulz went on to reject the idea of spending 2% of Germany's GDP on the military, saying it would cause a "substantial financial burden" for Germany to make such a large increase, and that he would be willing to "strongly resist" President Trump's demands for more spending. "As part of that practice, neither President Obama nor any White House official ever ordered surveillance on any USA citizen".

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