Jeb Bush to visit Germany, Poland, Estonia in June

21 april 2015, 14:24

 US Republican Jeb Bush will travel to Germany, Poland and Estonia in early June, his office announced Monday, a sign he could be solidifying plans to enter the 2016 presidential race, AFP reports.

In his first major foreign policy trip since actively exploring a White house bid four months ago, Bush will address an economic conference of Germany's Christian Democratic Union.

The former Florida governor and son and brother of two US presidents will also meet with government and business leaders in all three nations.

"As these countries lead the way in Europe's economic recovery, and as they face fresh economic and security challenges, governor Bush looks forward to learning more about their unique perspectives and how America can best support its good friends and allies in the region," a Bush aide told AFP.

He will also discuss technology and innovation, address "the changing global economic environment" and look at ways to foster economic prosperity on both sides of the Atlantic, the aide added.

Foreign policy has emerged as a key campaign issue as Republicans jostle for position in the race to succeed President Barack Obama.

The commander-in-chief has been roundly criticized by political foes for his handling of the threat from Islamist extremism, Russian aggression in Ukraine and nuclear negotiations with Iran.

Bush has made 89 foreign trips since leaving the governor's office in 2007, including a 2011 visit to Frankfurt. He has never been to Poland or Estonia.

While boosting his foreign policy credentials, the trip poses risks as well. Two governors contemplating presidential runs, Wisconsin's Scott Walker and New Jersey's Chris Christie, got tripped up on the international stage early this year during their own visits to Europe.

Three Republican senators -- Ted Cruz, Rand Paul and Marco Rubio -- have already launched their campaigns. Bush, 62, would be a Republican frontrunner should he throw his hat in the ring.

In the latest CNN poll out Monday, Bush clung to a slight lead among declared or likely Republican candidates. A total of 17 percent of respondents backed Bush for the nomination, versus 12 percent for Walker and 11 percent for Paul and Rubio.

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