US President Barack Obama warned Europe’s debt crisis must not destabilise the global economy, as he and Ms Merkel had extensive talks about the plight of debt-stricken Greece, which needs a second huge financial bailout, despite some reluctance from some eurozone members to stump up fresh funds. “I very much appreciated the Chancellor’s views on the financial situation in Europe, which we agree cannot be allowed to put the global economic recovery at risk,” Mr Obama said in a joint press conference with Ms Merkel.

Mr Obama said he was confident Europe would figure out a way to support Greece, adding that Washington would do what it could to help, and noted the “tough” domestic politics faced by leaders organising bailouts for other countries.

At one point in their joint press conference, the leaders appeared to share a resigned shrug as a journalist asked about ­frictions between them on Libya and whether they felt the need to “reset” their relationship.