President Biden and German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Thursday stressed their shared values, in a sign that the alliance between the United States and Europe has remained strong after the tension under Trump, their shared values, even as both acknowledged differences over a major Russian pipeline and how best to deal with China.
During meetings at the White House, Biden’s agenda included many of his most pressing geopolitical priorities, such as curbing Chinese influence, curbing Russian aggression, and waiving intellectual property restrictions on coronavirus vaccine manufacturers.
While there were no obvious breakthroughs, the visit was a way to show a united front after the president Donald J. Trump’s Hostile Talks with Merkel Because of NATO’s contributions, trade and multilateralism have deteriorated relations. The meeting also comes before the chancellor’s term expires, and the new German government will be sworn in after elections on September 26.
“Good friends can disagree,” said Mr. Biden, who appeared alongside Merkel at a news conference in the East Room after the meeting.
For the most part, the trip seemed like a triumph of personal politics. Mr Biden joked that Ms. Merkel, who has worked with four US presidents, “knows the Oval Office as well as I do”. The chancellor referred to the president several times as “Dear Joe” as she praised their cordial relationship that has continued since he was in the Senate. But the warmth cannot mask the fact that neither leader has strayed from the most fundamental areas of contention.
Mr. Biden said he touched on the contentious issue of $11 billion Nord Stream 2 . pipeline, a natural gas channel being built between Germany and Russia and expected to be completed by the end of the year. The president and his predecessors attacked the project as little more than a coercive tool against Ukraine and other allies.
“We came to different assessments,” Ms. Merkel said of the project.
Mr. Biden said the two agreed that they were “united in our conviction that Russia should not be able to use energy as a weapon.”
The President abdicated from Congress Penalties This year for the Russian company that builds the pipeline and its German CEO, they effectively admitted that trying to stop the project was not worth the expected cost to US-German relations.
Ms. Merkel has kept her comments unspecific about confronting China, whose influence Mr. Biden believes is an existential threat to American democracy.
“There is a lot of common understanding that China is our competitor in many areas,” the chancellor said, taking care not to conflict with Germany’s largest trading partner. “Trade with China should be based on the assumption that we have a level playing field,” she added.
The two leaders also indicated that they remained separate in their approach to containing the epidemic. Mrs. Merkel did not abide by Patents filed for corona virus vaccinesMr. Biden did not raise the issue to reporters. Merkel said she asked the president if his administration would end the travel ban for Europeans, but he has not committed to ending it.
“You really raised the issue, and you got the same answer the president gave you: the Covid team is evaluating the matter,” the chancellor said.
However, the leaders have repeatedly emphasized their one-to-one relationship in their public appearances, a sharp difference from Ms. Merkel’s cold and elaborate interactions with Mr Trump, who has offended her as “prisoner of Russia. When the chancellor was asked to compare Biden’s leadership style to that of his predecessor, she was characteristically restrained, asserting that she and Biden had a “very friendly exchange.”
“We are not only partners and allies, but we are very close friends,” Ms Merkel said.
The president began the event by offering his condolences to the Germans in Loss of life and property due to recent floods. He then thanked the chancellor for the “ideal life in the pioneering service of Germany”.
Mr Biden has been asked to address diplomatic turmoil closer to home, including protests in cuba And the turmoil after The Assassination of President Jovenel Moses Haiti. He told a reporter that other than sending Marines to guard the US embassy there, he was not considering sending US troops.
wave treatment of Demonstrations all over CubaMr. Biden accused his government of being a “failed state” that “oppresses its own citizens” and said he wouldn’t end rules against payments Americans could make to their Cuban relatives because he couldn’t be sure the government wouldn’t take them.
“I won’t do that now,” he said, “because the reality is that the regime is very likely to confiscate those transfers, or large portions of them.”
The president was upset when asked about his domestic economic priorities. When asked if he was confident that a $3.5 trillion budget framework It would be enough to be passed by Democrats with every Democratic senator on board, and Mr. Biden criticized the news media as proactively suggesting that the plan, along with negotiations over an infrastructure deal, was destined to fail.
“I am absolutely confident that everything will go well,” he said dryly. I have watched and listened to the press declaring the death of my initiative at least 10 times so far. I don’t think he died. I think he’s still alive.”
Aside from more thorny political issues, Ms. Merkel’s visit was a diplomatic victory lap of sorts before her term expired. She started her day with a cheese soufflé breakfast with Vice President Kamala Harris.
Later the same day, the chancellor received an honorary doctorate from Johns Hopkins University, adding to her portfolio of degrees from Harvard and Stanford. As soon as she arrived at the White House, Ms. Merkel and the President exchanged greetings in the Oval Office.
Although the exchange was not overly warm, it brought together more unions than Ms. Merkel’s previous meetings in the Oval Office. When I asked Mr. Trump in 2017, “Do you want to shake hands?It appears that Mr. Trump has not.
Just as Ms. Merkel has spent years responding mildly to Mr. Trump, she hasn’t always been too eager to accept Biden’s pleas that US-German relations have returned to normal. During this year’s virtual Munich Security Conference, she said of the US relationship that “our interests will not always converge.”
By the time of Thursday’s news conference, Mr. Biden and Ms. Merkel seemed more interested in continuing her farewell party than discussing what led to their split.
After the press conference, they attended dinner with old allies, including Hillary Clinton. Rep. Kevin McCarthy of California, the minority leader, was also He is scheduled to attend After a trip earlier in the day to see Mr. Trump at his golf club in New Jersey.
After the two leaders answered questions, Biden distanced Ms. Merkel from reporters.
“If we don’t leave now, we’ll miss dinner,” he told her.
Glenn Thrush Contribute to the preparation of reports.