United States Barack Obama has warned political counterparts to listen to the economic fears of their constituents in the wake of Donald Trump’s shock election win.
Speaking during his final foreign tour as President in Greece, Mr Obama said economic dislocation and inequality as a result of globalisation were potentially crippling issues for politicians.
“The more aggressively and effectively we deal with those issues, the less those fears may channel themselves into counterproductive approaches that can pit people against each other,” Mr Obama said during a joint press conference with Greek Prime Minister Alex Tsipras in Athens.
Mr Obama then said both Mr Trump’s election and the British Brexit vote reflected the need to deal with “people’s fears that their children won’t do as well as they have”.
“Sometimes people just feel as if we want to try something and see if we can shake things up.”
Mr Obama would not be drawn into judging whether “the new prescriptions being offered” would remedy those fears.
He went on to say some of the rhetoric seen in Mr Trump’s campaign and the Brexit campaign was “pretty troubling and not necessarily connected to the facts”.
Mr Tsipras said he had purposefully not criticised Mr Trump, suggesting the “aggressive manner” of his candidacy might soften in the White House.
“In the near future not much is going to change in the relations between the EU, Greece and the United States of America,” Mr Tsipras said.
Mr Tsipras added that it was one thing to criticise Mr Trump during the campaign and another thing now that Mr Trump will be a “major player” in the world.
Meantime, thousands of anti-Obama protestors took to the streets in Athens.
There were no injuries or arrests reported, with police saying 3000 took part in the demonstrations.
The march through Athens was led by anarchists and left-wing group supporters.
Greek authorities have deployed more than 5000 police for Mr Obama’s two-day visit, the last before he vacates the White House.
– with ABC