Biden, Merkel stress friendship while agreeing to disagree on pipeline

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U.S. President Joe Biden and German Chancellor Angela Merkel agreed to disagree on Thursday a few Russian pipeline mission that Washington opposes, while vowing to stand collectively in opposition to aggression from Moscow and anti-democratic motion from Beijing.

At what is probably going to be the German chief’s last go to to the White House earlier than she retires from politics, Biden praised Merkel’s “exemplary life of groundbreaking service to Germany and … to the world”.

Transatlantic ties suffered below the tenure of former President Donald Trump, and each Merkel and Biden had been keen to present the connection was on the mend throughout their time collectively.

“I value the friendship,” Merkel stated within the Oval Office, mentioning America’s position in constructing a free and democratic Germany after World War Two. Merkel is the primary European chief to go to Biden on the White House since his inauguration in January.

Despite the cordiality, some disagreements had been obvious.

Biden reiterated his issues concerning the Nord Stream 2 pipeline being constructed below the Baltic Sea from Russia to Germany; the United States fears Moscow will use it as a cudgel in opposition to Ukraine. The $11 billion mission, which is anticipated to be completed in September, will bypass Ukraine, probably depriving it of transit charges.

The president reiterated that he determined in opposition to sanctioning the corporate behind the pipeline as a result of the mission was close to completion, a choice that drew criticism from Democrats and Republicans alike. But Biden stated he and Merkel had been united of their perception that Russia mustn’t use vitality as a geopolitical weapon.

“Good friends can disagree,” he stated concerning the pipeline throughout a joint information convention. “We stand together and will continue to stand together to defend our eastern-flank allies at NATO against Russian aggression.”

Merkel famous the variations of opinion however emphasised factors of unity between the 2 international locations. “We all share the same values; we all share the same determination to tackle the challenges of our times,” she stated.

Biden pledged to have a choice quickly on whether or not to elevate a pandemic-related ban on Europeans touring to the United States that has irked Germany and different allies.

Views on China

Washington and Berlin even have differing views on doing enterprise with China, which Germany has wooed for commerce.

“There is a lot of common understanding that China, in many areas, is our competitor; that trade with China needs to rest on the assumption that we have a level playing field,” Merkel stated.

But each leaders stated they’d rise up for democratic rules and common rights once they noticed China or another nation working to undermine them.

“We are united, united in our commitment to addressing democratic backsliding, corruption, phony populism in the European Union or among candidates for the EU membership, or anywhere we find it in the world,” Biden stated.

Biden, 78, and Merkel, 66, wouldn’t have a lot time to strengthen ties between the world’s largest and fourth-largest economies.

Merkel, chancellor since 2005, plans to exit Germany’s authorities after nationwide elections in September. Polling reveals her Christian Democrats are poised to take the lead in forming a authorities after the election, but it surely stays unclear which events can be included in a coalition.

Biden’s Democratic Party has tenuous majorities within the U.S. Congress that might evaporate within the 2022 congressional elections.

John Emerson, who served as ambassador to Germany below former President Barack Obama, stated the connection stays “indispensable” for Washington given Germany’s position as the biggest economic system in Europe and a NATO ally, in addition to its significance as a bridge builder in coping with Russia, the Middle East and North Africa.

Germany hosts some 36,000 U.S. troops on its soil.

The White House feted Merkel after the working go to between the 2 leaders.

She and her husband attended a dinner hosted by the Bidens with company that included U.S. lawmakers, former secretaries of state Colin Powell and Hillary Clinton and the Republican leaders of the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate.

The White House stated the menu included grilled peaches, crispy sea bass, and vanilla ice cream.

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