While meeting the woman who has labored over the past few years to keep the European Union from falling into the economic abyss, Vice President Joe Biden quipped that America’s own “so-called” fiscal crisis isn’t that bad.
Biden met with German Chancellor Angela Merkel on the first day of a five-day swing through her country, France, and the United Kingdom.
In remarks at the chancellery in Berlin, Biden praised Germany as an “absolutely essential, critical partner.”
“Without a strong Europe, close ties to Europe, it is not conceivable how American interests can be met around the world,” he said. “…I’m anxious to tell you how we’re going to — why I think we’re in the very good shape in terms of our so-called fiscal crisis, as it’s always characterized. I think it’s less of a crisis than people think.”
Merkel has championed a long-term approach to bring the Eurozone back to fiscal stability, including tough austerity measures that haven’t been well received by leftist members of the EU.
Tomorrow, Biden delivers remarks at the Munich Security Conference. In the afternoon he’ll meet with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov — it’s unknown what kind of flexibility he may convey on behalf of President Obama here.
Biden will also meet with Joint Arab League–United Nations Special Representative for Syria Lakhdar Brahimi and President of the Syrian Opposition Coalition Moaz al-Khatib.