Obama: Fear of globalisation the common thread behind Brexit and Trump votes

On his last foreign trip as president, Obama has repeatedly tried to draw lessons from Donald Trump's victory in the USA presidential election, hoping it can serve as wake-up call in the US and overseas.

Despite the restrictions, riot police used tear gas and stun grenades Tuesday evening to disperse about 3,000 left-wing demonstrators protesting the visit after they tried to enter an area off-limits to gatherings.

In a joint news conference with Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, Obama said his proposals on jobs, education and infrastructure would have helped the same voters whose frustration drove Trump's success at the polls - if only they'd been implemented. 'In the years and decades ahead, our countries have to make sure that the benefits of an integrated global economy are more broadly shared by more people and that the negative impacts are squarely addressed'.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who worked well with Bush before Obama's election, was to have talks with Obama on Thursday afternoon following a private dinner with the president the night before.

U.S. President Barack Obama affirmed his faith in democracy and open markets as the best vehicles of freedom and prosperity but warned that governments must do more to assure all their citizens share in the benefits.

"In my message to the rest of Europe, I will continue to emphasise our view that austerity alone can not deliver prosperity", Obama told Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras.

President-elect Donald Trump will be holding more meetings at New York City's Trump Tower as he prepares his administration. "But American democracy is bigger than any one person".

"There is no doubt that this has produced populist movements, both from the left and the right", Obama added, with the trend giving rise to "unconventional candidates", like Donald Trump or Bernie Sanders.

And to listeners at home fearful about Trump, he offered a path out of the wilderness, albeit a long and winding one.

"There is a tension between the real life, which is very tough for working-class voters, and the president's overall narrative", Democratic pollster Stan Greenberg said.

Speaking after a tour of the Acropolis, Obama expressed "gratitude for all that Greece, this small great world, has given humanity through the ages".

The entire site was closed to the public for the day for Obama's visit, which has taken place amid draconian security measures that have also banned demonstrations in parts of Athens, and shut down roads and subway stations.

"In a multi-ethnic, multiracial, multicultural society, like the United States, democracy can be especially complicated", he said.

At each stop on his trip, Obama expects to confront apprehension from world leaders who fear Trump could bring about seismic changes in USA foreign policy and withdraw the US from its traditional leadership role. A strong, unified Europe was good for America and the world: "We know what happens when Europeans start dividing themselves up ... the 20th century was a bloodbath".

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras won elections a year ago on what critics say was a populist platform, though one on the left of the political spectrum.

And he pledged support for Greece's attempts to reform its economy - and to seek debt relief - in response to the economic crisis there. He pushed his formerly small party to the forefront by telling Greeks tired from six years of financial crisis that he would reject austerity measures imposed in return for bailouts.

During the election race, Obama did not see Trump as a leader of the country.



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