The Associated Press
ATHENS, Greece — The Latest on President Barack Obama’s final foreign tour as president (all times local):
President Barack Obama is likening the difficulty in resolving problems in the European Union to the challenges of dealing with Congress.
Obama is holding a joint news conference in Athens with Greece’s prime minister. He says Congress is hard to deal with, but dealing with multiple parliaments and commissions and other entities is “very complicated.”
He says many European leaders have inherited problems and are trying to identify how to resolve them. A number of EU countries are considering their future membership in the bloc.
Obama says the U.S. has urged European countries to resolve banking problems quickly so other solutions can follow. He says that’s more complicated because not all countries use the Euro currency.
President Barack Obama says one of the lessons he’s learned from recent elections is the need to address inequality, economic dislocation and people’s fear that their children won’t do as well as they have done.
Obama is being asked about what comparisons he draws from Donald Trump’s election victory and the vote by Britain to leave the European Union.
Obama says there’s a range of factors involved but it’s clear that globalization, combined with technology and social media, disrupted people’s lives. He says it’s critical to address those real concerns and channel them in a positive way.
He also says that some of the rhetoric seen in the elections is “pretty troubling and not necessarily connected to the facts.”
President Barack Obama is praising Greece for its financial commitment to NATO — specifically, for being one of five NATO allies that dedicated at least 2 percent of its gross domestic product to defense spending.
Obama says Greece has met that threshold despite difficult times, and if it can do so, so should all NATO allies.
Obama has pushed for higher defense spending by NATO members. That issue surfaced during the presidential campaign as Donald Trump suggested that the U.S. would look at whether NATO members had paid their proper share in considering whether to come to their defense.
Trump challenged the strategic underpinnings of the NATO alliance. Obama is on his last foreign trip before Trump becomes president. And Obama is using this trip to try to underscore the U.S. commitment to the alliance.
Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras of Greece says the U.S. economy has performed better than Europe’s in recent years. He says that’s because President Barack Obama committed to policies that promoted employment while Europe focused on austerity.
Tsipras is speaking at a press conference with Obama as the president makes his final foreign trip.
While some in the U.S. are unhappy with economic growth since the 2008 financial crisis, Tsipras is saying that the U.S. has experienced “impressive” growth while European economies have been trapped in “stagnation.”
He says Greece is slowly but surely decreasing unemployment and restoring confidence in the nation’s economy.
President Barack Obama says austerity alone cannot deliver prosperity to the Greek people and that debt relief and other strategies will be needed.
Obama is pushing Europe to grant debt relief to Greece as it continues on its economic recovery. Obama says reforms undertaken by the Greek government haven’t been easy but were necessary and will make the nation’s economy more competitive in the long-term.
Obama’s comments are taking place prior to a meeting with Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras. The prime minister says he hopes Obama’s last trip to Europe brings about important results.
President Barack Obama is assuring the Greek people that the United States considers the NATO alliance a cornerstone of its security and that its commitment to it is unwavering.
President-elect Donald Trump campaigned saying he would look at NATO and complained that the U.S. has been paying more than its fair share. Obama says the strong NATO relationship between the United States and Greece is of the upmost importance.
Obama is meeting with President Prokopis Pavlopoulos as part of his final foreign trip. Obama says he considered it important to visit the birthplace of democracy.
As they begin their meeting, Pavlopoulos is telling Obama that the U.S. has every reason to look forward to a strong and prosperous Europe, and that Greece is committed to the European Union.
President Barack Obama has been greeted with a military honor guard in navy and green uniforms and a military band after stepping off Air Force One on a windy and chilly morning.
Among the dignitaries greeting the president were Greece’s minister of national defense, “Panos” Kammenos, and the U.S. ambassador to Greece, Geoffrey Pyatt.
On his first day in Greece, Obama will meet with President Prokopis Pavlopoulos and Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, plus hold a news conference with Tsipras.
President Barack Obama has arrived in Greece on the first stop of his final foreign tour as president.
Air Force One touched down midmorning in Athens after an overnight flight from Washington. On his first day in Greece, Obama will meet with President Prokopis Pavlopoulos and Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, plus hold a news conference with Tsipras.
On Wednesday, he’ll tour the Acropolis and give a major speech about democracy and globalization before he flies on to Berlin. From Germany, Obama will travel to Peru for an Asian economic summit before returning to Washington on Saturday.
Obama’s trip will be dominated by questions and concerns about President-elect Donald Trump. Obama is working to reassure foreign leaders the U.S. won’t abandon its partnerships and alliance obligations despite Trump’s tough campaign rhetoric.
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