German state premier invites Donald Trump to visit

Seehofer (above) suggested Trump could attend Munich’s annual international security conference in February.
Seehofer (above) suggested Trump could attend Munich’s annual international security conference in February.PHOTO: AFP

BERLIN (AFP) - The leader of the German state of Bavaria has invited Donald Trump to visit, reports said on Thursday (Nov 24), after he urged European politicians to keep an open mind about the controversial US President-elect.

Premier Horst Seehofer, a maverick member of Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservative bloc, wrote to Trump to congratulate him on his victory and said he would be welcome "any time" in his state capital Munich, Bavarian government sources told German news agency DPA.

Specifically, Seehofer suggested Trump could attend the city's annual international security conference in February, just weeks after his inauguration as US president on Jan 20, the unnamed sources added.

In contrast with many German and European officials, Seehofer warned soon after the Nov 8 US election against prejudging Trump too harshly.

"I would urge us to see what he actually does," Seehofer said, calling for dialogue between Germany, European partners and the United States on "shared policy".

Seehofer has frequently clashed with Merkel over her liberal border policy, which permitted the arrival of around one million asylum-seekers over the last two years.

Following Trump's election, Merkel offered the populist billionaire "close cooperation".

But she stressed that relations must be based on the "values of democracy, freedom, respect for the rule of law and human dignity, regardless of origin, skin colour, religion, gender, sexual orientation or political belief".

Trump, whose paternal grandparents hailed from Germany, is expected to attend the Group of 20 summit, which Merkel will host in Hamburg next July.