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"Merkel is a good friend"

On the first Interview time U.S. President Barack Obama, where a German newspaper in an interview. With the "Tagesspiegel" he said on the earnings of Chancellor Angela Merkel for freedom in the world that address the economic crisis and the freedom movement in the Middle East.

President Obama, draw Chancellor Merkel tomorrow with the Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian medals the United States. What qualities do you like about it, they may differ from other European leaders?

Obama said My feeling Chancellor Merkel is an excellent choice because he embodies the promise of freedom and the opportunities offered by democracy. After the fall of the Berlin Wall and German unification they overcame barriers by the first East German - and first woman - was Chancellor. Her life story is an inspiration to me personally, for my fellow Americans and people around the world. She herself has said, and her biography shows. "Freedom does not come by itself you have to fight for freedom every day and defend it again" She is a sincere friend of America and an unwavering supporter of the alliance between the U.S. and Germany. I am very excited to present her at the State Dinner Medal of Freedom.

The handling of style between chancellors and presidents has changed over time. Helmut Kohl, Boris Yeltsin and George Bush senior will hug you. George W. Bush gave Angela Merkel a neck massage. The body language between you, Mr. President, and the Chancellor has restrained - some say more respectful. Others think soberly. Why is that? They both embody a different kind of arms in the States compared to previous generation? Or is it the dark times of war, recession and crises?

Obama I like to work with Chancellor Merkel. I view it as a good friend and one of my closest partners in the world. This is one of the reasons why her visit to Washington marks the first official visit to a state dinner for a European head of government in my presidency. For the tenth time since I took office as president, we will be discussing face to face with each other. In addition, we are often talking on the phone and videoconference. My friendship with Chancellor Merkel is based on my high respect and my admiration for their leadership qualities and the experience that I can trust her when she makes a commitment. Our nations have passed since my first day in office together many challenges. And her I am personally very grateful for their friendship and partnership.

In recent decades there have been several recessions. This revealed a reliable pattern: the recovery in the U.S. started earlier, and growth rates were higher than in Europe and especially in Germany. This time it's different. Germany has overcome the recent economic slowdown better than the U.S.. Why? And there's something that America can learn from the German example?

Obama I am grateful that in our two economies are growing again, even if we do not always tread the same way there. I am aware that we have very different historical experiences from which we derive our politics. America is dominated by the memory of the high unemployment during the Depression of the 1930s, high inflation in Germany has left scars. Our basic goals are the same, however: We all agree that markets must function reliably and that Germany and the USA in the center of efforts to achieve a sustainable and balanced global growth should be. Germany had to make as many other European countries hard choices on expenditure and savings. Also we deal with it. We are all working on finding the right balance between a stimulus that is needed for a strong recovery and necessary steps to ensure our long-term fiscal sustainability. Germany has made great achievements in employment. I understand that for a job today, more German than ever before in the history of the united Germany. Many German companies have found creative ways in which they can grow in a rapidly changing world economy - with an emphasis on "green jobs" and new technologies. Then we concentrate in the United States.

In her speech to the British Parliament have rejected the view that America and Europe are in decline and that the future of emerging nations such as China, India and Brazil belong. They said the U.S. and Europe are still the leader in business, research and freedom of individuals. What are the particular strengths of Germany, and where should it see its leadership role?

Obama Germany has extremely talented, well-educated and hardworking labor force and is therefore a global economic power. It has been proven to be a leading power in the EU, which promotes integration, stability and peace. His commitment to the environment is admirable, and from Germany, we can learn much about how more environmentally friendly can also lead to more growth. It is worth noting that Germany has achieved all this while it was working hard to create unity and a common identity after 1989. This success is remarkable, and owes a good part of the leadership by Chancellor Merkel. 1989, Germany has opened the way to freedom for the countries of the former Warsaw Pact. Two decades later, it serves as proof that Democracy rewards those willing to work hard and sacrifice.

And vice versa: What can Germany do better to take more global responsibility and leadership? It was criticized that it is not involved in the NATO operation in Libya. How does such an experience your relationship with Angela Merkel? One consequence was obvious that Germany will not participate in military proceedings.

Obama Germany is already a global leader. We are in constant contact to coordinate our efforts. 7,000 German soldiers are serving in various missions around the world and thus make an important contribution to international peace and security. We especially appreciate the participation in the ISAF troops in Afghanistan. The 5,000 German soldiers are the third largest national contingent. In addition, Germany has the command in the entire north, runs two regional development team to explain the logistics for all ISAF units in the command area, including several thousand U.S. soldiers. This deployment will also become victims. Our hearts are with the families of more than 50 Germans, who have given their lives there for the security of our countries, some in recent weeks. For Libya: No decision is more difficult than whether to send their own soldiers and soldiers in an armed conflict. We thank Germany for its support for NATO operations in all locations, from the Balkans to Afghanistan, the Horn of Africa and Libya. As a member of NATO, Germany is part of the command structure of NATO and make significant contributions to all operations. I want to praise Germany that it has recently moved AWACS surveillance planes to Afghanistan and allowing other countries to use their pilots and aircraft in Libya. Germany plays an important role in the response to the democratic transition in North Africa. I look forward to discussing with the Chancellor, as we can together do more to respond more effectively to the changes in the region, including Libya.

Such freedom of movement put us to the test: How do you weigh up between the great hope that it will lead to success, and the lessons of history, that they almost never succeed at the first attempt? Poles, Czechs and Hungarians had to venture several uprisings before they could topple the communist dictatorship 1989th How much change can we realistically expect in a region like North Africa, which has no practical experience with democracy?

Obama We know that the Middle East and North Africa face many challenges. Such transitions are not easy and takes time. But as I have said many times: This is a historic moment, a historic occasion. The demands for political and economic reforms that provide the people of this region are legitimate and must be met. Violence against peaceful demonstrators is unacceptable and must end. The leaders use the violence against their own people understand, to ensure that they do not stifle the call for change by oppression. Some changes we are witnessing is monumental - for example in Egypt. As I said last week in Europe, the example of the former Warsaw Pact countries is instructive. When I ate in Warsaw with President of Central and Eastern Europe in the evening, I was moved deeply a statement. One of my colleagues told me 20 years ago have some people argue that the countries of Eastern Europe with democracy would not get along, that their cultures are incompatible with democracy. But America had faith in these countries, he said, and they were able to eliminate communism and to manage the transition to democracy. Today, his country would return the thanks by support the people who long now in the Middle East and North Africa, then, to be free. This is a good lesson for us all. The lack of democratic experience in the region does not mean that the desire of peoples for freedom there is less value or worth to a lesser extent our support.

Allow me to conclude with a question that I asked your predecessor in the White House also 2007th The U.S. is a world power. Germany is - like Britain and France - a middle power: quite important for most other states, but constantly worried that it may have little influence on the decisions of the superpower, but its consequences endorse need of wars until the financial crisis. Can you give me an example where you changed your mind after you have discussed a problem with a European head of government, perhaps with the Chancellor?

I advise Obama on every important issue to my international agenda with the Chancellor, and I appreciate their pragmatism and open their very words. We do not always agree, not even the two allies are forever. But in our meetings and discussions, we always talk honestly and openly with each other as close friends to do that. And I believe that our approach as we address common challenges, therefore stronger. I am firmly convinced that the problems of today's world require our collective action. As I said, our relationship with Europe is the foundation for our relations with the world and the means for global action. Germany is the center of Europe, and the cooperation between the U.S. and Germany is the key to everything we hope to achieve in the world.