US economy better than expected: Biden

Berlin, Feb 1 (IANS) The current economic situation in the US "was in good shape", Vice President Joe Biden said here Friday.

During a talk with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Biden deliberated on the current global economic situation, methods to cope with deficits, debts, and the prospects of recovery and growth, Xinhua reported.

"And it was less a crisis than people think," Biden said, referring to the fiscal negotiations in Washington.

Biden called Germany "an absolutely essential, critical partner", while "the transatlantic alliance continues to be the basis upon which our entire relations in the world rest".

"Without a strong Europe and close ties to Europe, it is not conceivable how America's interests can be met around the world," Biden said.

Merkel said that Germany sends "a positive message" to Biden on the efforts to defuse the sovereign debts crisis, according to a statement issued after the meeting.

Merkel praised "the positive signals" about a planned transatlantic US-Europe free trade agreement, which is widely expected to bolster the economies of both sides.

There were "positive signs" in US President Barack Obama's agenda for his second term in office, Merkel said.