ROME - US President George W Bush, on a legacy-shaping farewell trip to Europe, predicted Thursday that his successor in January will inherit "the broadest and most vibrant" transatlantic ties ever. Amid disputes over climate change, fighting in Afghanistan, and over aspects of the war on terrorism, plus differences on dealing with Iran's suspect nuclear drive, Bush said victory over what he called Islamist extremism required US-European unity. And "when the time comes to welcome a new American President next January, I will be pleased to report to him that the relationship between the United States and Europe is the broadest and most vibrant it has ever been," he said. Bush's remarks came in White House-released excerpts from the keynote speech of his week-long visit to Slovenia, for his last US-European Union summit, then to Germany, Italy, France and Britain, to be delivered Friday (today) in Paris. Ahead of talks with Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, to be followed by a Press conference, Bush denounced "misinformation and propaganda" that sully the US image overseas as he met with young entrepreneurs. Bush told young entrepreneurs taking part in a US exchange programme that this was the way to learn "the truth about America." "There's a lot of, in my view, misinformation and propaganda about our country. We're a compassionate, we'are an open country," the US President said as he pursued a farewell to Europe tour before leaving office in January. Bush spoke at the Villa Aurelia, home to the American Academy in Rome, where a small knot of protestors met him with shouts in English of "Bush Go Home" one day after roughly 1,000 people demonstrated against his visit. He also met with Italy's President Giorgio Napolitano. On Friday, the US president was to have an audience with Pope Benedict XVI, whose 81st birthday he feted at the White House in April, before heading off to France and wrapping up his tour in Britain. The pontiff was to return Bush's hospitality by meeting with him in the mediaeval St John's Tower at the Vatican, reserved for illustrious guests, before taking a stroll in the Vatican Gardens. About 1,000 demonstrators protested Bush's arrival on Wednesday, marching from the central Piazza della Repubblica to the US embassy, some shouting "Bush terrorist," "Bush warlord" and "Italy out of Nato." Their banners called for a withdrawal of Western forces from Afghanistan and Lebanon. Berlusconi's position on Iran is close to Washington's, while his centre-left predecessor Romano Prodi advocated dialogue with Tehran. Bush, who has hosted the media tycoon both at the White House and at his Texas ranch, was making his sixth visit to Rome under tight security, with 10,000 police and soldiers deployed in the streets. Italian officials have said in recent days that Rome will step up its military role in Afghanistan, even as its roughly 2,500 soldiers will remain deployed in Kabul and the relatively quiet western region of Herat.