Correspondent in Berlin
There are already few trips on the agenda of Angela Merkel, before the generals of September 26, to which he no longer appears, end their four consecutive terms, and none as important as the one he undertakes today in the direction of Washington. For the German Chancellor, being received at the White House by the President Joe Biden it is one of his latest and most desired successes in international politics. The practical rupture of transatlantic relations with the Trump Administration was experienced by Germany as a trauma and leaving that rebuilt bridge not only leaves Merkel’s conscience calm but also opens a new era of German influence, since she now receives the treatment of partner preferred and European interlocutor. Major breakthroughs on divisive issues like the Russian pipeline to export gas to Germany or the added push to counter China that Biden would like is unlikely during this trip. Everything was more or less talked about in the G7. But the mere fact that this official visit takes place provides geostrategic stability and modulates economic uncertainty.
That said, Merkel does not take a step back and has once again rejected, before boarding the plane, the opposition of the United States and the neighbors of Eastern Europe. to the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, almost finished, even though Russia may well use it to cut off Ukraine as a gas transit route, depriving Kiev of lucrative revenue and undermining its struggle with the Moscow-backed east. The German Chancellor has promised the Government of Ukraine that “we will do everything in our power” to continue importing gas through Ukraine and has given guarantees that this will happen until 2024, but from that date on the future of the road. Ukrainian is uncertain.
“Nord Stream 2 is the area where progress can most realistically be expected,” says Thorsten Benner of the Global Public Policy Institute (GPPi), “Merkel can hope to get away with providing guarantees for Ukraine’s continued role as a country. gas transit and a vague backtracking mechanism that would be activated if Russia seeks to cut off transit through Ukraine. ‘ The US Administration has leaked that Biden to underscore his opposition when meeting with MerkelBut there is diplomatic space for both parties to “address the negative impacts of the pipeline.” “Our teams continue to discuss how we can credibly and concretely ensure that Russia cannot use energy as a coercive tool to disrupt Ukraine, the eastern flank allies or other states,” is the message.
For now, Merkel does not move the Chinese tab either. During his 16 years in power, he has worked hard to strengthen economic ties, both German and European, with the eastern giant, which the Biden Administration sees it as a global threat and it wants to counter with a joint front of democratic countries. “The problem for the United States is that Merkel has the upper hand, because she has decided that the status quo in the transatlantic relationship is good enough for Germany,” says Ulrich Speck, an independent foreign policy analyst. win over Germany for its new strategy in China. Officials on both sides are engaged in intense discussions to resolve the issue and avoid re-imposing the sanctions that Biden resigned in May. The US president is facing increasing pressure from US lawmakers to reimpose sanctions.
Tibia with China
Merkel has been a strong advocate for investment pact between the European Union and China reached late last year, on the eve of Biden’s inauguration, and has been criticized for not taking on Beijing for human rights violations in Hong Kong and against a Muslim minority in Xinjiang, which the United States has described as genocide.
“There will probably be a joint call from Biden and Merkel for China to intensify its efforts in reducing carbon emissions in favor of global health and just maybe a reference to the need to open up the Chinese market more”, confides Benner, ” But don’t expect anything from Merkel that remotely looks like there is a joint transatlantic front in China. ‘
The two countries also remain at odds over a proposed temporary exemption from intellectual property rights to help increase COVID-19 vaccine production, a measure backed by Washington but which Germany rejects. Nor can it be expected that the United States’ refusal to ease travel restrictions for visitors from Europe due to the pandemic will ease.
On this last and momentous official trip, Merkel brings to her side Jan Hecker for foreign policy, Lars-Hendrik Röller for economic policy and government spokesman Steffen Seibert, as well as, and it is an extraordinary fact, her husband Joachim Sauer. Your team attaches great importance to the breakfast you will have with Kamala Harris. The DAX 30 remains attentive to the exchange that the delegation will maintain with businessmen and commercial representatives. And although Merkel never leaves too much room for emotions, without a doubt the most emotional point of the program for the German chancellor will be the act in which the Johns Hopkins University awarded her an honorary doctorate, in the words of the president of the University, Ronald J. Daniels, a recognition of a lifetime’s work: “As a world leader with unparalleled determination and integrity, Chancellor Angela Merkel has not only led Germany, but also the crises of the great recession, refugees and Covid-19, as a beacon for the world.