Five EU leaders meeting Barack Obama in Germany for talks on 'pressing global issues'

Theresa May is also due to have a bilateral meeting with Angela Merkel to discuss Brexit

Five EU leaders meeting Barack Obama in Germany for talks on 'pressing global issues'

Picture by Pablo Martinez Monsivais AP/Press Association Images

Barack Obama is meeting the leaders of Britain, Germany, France, Italy and Spain today as the US President makes his final European tour before handing over the reins of power to President-elect Donald Trump.

The six leaders - representing five of the G7 members - will discuss "pressing global issues" including extending sanctions against Russia for its intervention in Ukraine and possible new sanctions for its bombing of Syria. 

They will also talk about the threat from IS in Iraq, Syria and Libya, and discuss mass migration and trade issues, according to a spokesperson for Theresa May.

Mrs May is also due to have a bilateral meeting with Chancellor Merkel to discuss Brexit - although she has no other formal meetings with the leaders of France, Italy or Spain.

It comes after President Obama issued a parting snub to the "special relationship", naming the German leader as his closest international partner of the last eight years.

President Obama and Chancellor Merkel issued a joint rebuttal to the incoming era of Mr Trump on Thursday, penning an op-ed for more transatlantic cooperation on security, climate trade and trade.

While never mentioning the incoming president by name, the two leaders upbraided some of Mr Trump's foreign policy positions. 

They praised the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) - which Mr Trump has cast doubt over - as the cornerstone of peace.

Mr Obama and Mrs Merkel also reiterated their commitment and support for the Paris Agreement to cut global emissions, an accord from which Mr Trump has threatened to withdraw.

They wrote: "Today we find ourselves at a crossroads - the future is upon us, and we will never return to a pre-globalisation economy. Germans and Americans we must seize the opportunity to shape globalisation based on our values and our ideas.

"We owe it to our industries and our peoples - indeed, to the global community - to broaden and deepen our cooperation," they add.

The leaders' statements after the summit will be watched carefully to see how President Obama and his European allies position themselves in relation to the President-elect.

European leaders will want guidance from Mr Obama on his successor's approach to NATO, after the President said last week that Donald Trump wanted to maintain NATO relationships after a meeting with his successor in the White House.

The world will be watching too to see what leaders will say on Syria and Ukraine after President-elect Trump signalled a possible rapprochement with Vladimir Putin during his election campaign.

This in turn has raised questions over the future of the sanctions regime brought in by Washington and Brussels in 2014 over Ukraine.