By Jordan Fabian - 12/30/15 02:43 PM EST
Obama to travel to Germany in April
President Obama will travel to Germany in late April to meet with Chancellor Angela Merkel, a close confidant and European ally.
The visit is intended to build economic ties between the U.S. and Europe. Obama will attend Hannover Messe, a major trade show that attracts 200,000 visitors annually, according to the White House.
“The president’s participation — a first for a sitting U.S. president — presents an [sic] unique opportunity to showcase American innovation and ingenuity and to highlight the United States as a prime investment destination,” Obama spokesman Josh Earnest said in a statement.
Obama is also expected to discuss a pending transatlantic trade agreement with Merkel, the White House said.
The announcement comes amid reports that Obama is planning a busy international travel schedule during his final year in office.
Obama also plans to travel to Poland in July for a NATO summit, according to Politico.
The president has looked to European allies to aid the fight against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and isolate Russian President Vladimir Putin in response to his country’s military incursion into Ukraine.
He heaped praise on Merkel in November when she pledged that Germany would do more to assist the coalition fighting ISIS after the November terrorist attacks in Paris.
The president’s visit to Germany, his fifth as commander in chief, is a chance for him to show solidarity with Merkel.
Obama has maintained a close relationship with her throughout his presidency, save for a dustup over National Security Agency snooping on U.S. allies, including Germany, exposed by ex-contractor Edward Snowden in 2013.
The administration placed Merkel on a list of leaders protected from NSA spying, according to The Wall Street Journal, even as it continued to monitor other allies, including Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.