Being the Key NATO allies, The United States and Germany are hoping to rebuild ties badly frayed under former President Donald Trump. As President Joe Biden welcomes German Chancellor Angela Merkel to the White House on Thursday, they will try both to overcome their odds over a host of tough issues, including the Nord Stream 2 pipeline being built from Russia to Germany under the Baltic Sea, which Washington fears will increase European reliance on Russian gas.
They also disagree over the wisdom of partnering with China on business deals, continuing restrictions on travel to the United States from Europe, and Germany’s opposition to temporary patent waivers aimed at speeding COVID-19 vaccine production.
Biden, 78, and Merkel, 66, see eye to eye on a string of broader issues. They will likely discuss joining forces to fight threats to democracy around the world, counter Russian cyberattacks and territorial aggression in Eastern Europe, and China’s push to dominate advanced technologies, officials in both governments said.
Ending the pandemic and halting climate change will also come up, they said.
But the two leaders do not have much time to work together on strengthening ties between the world’s largest and fourth-largest economies.
Merkel, chancellor since 2005, plans to exit Germany’s government after national elections in September, meaning she is likely to be seen as a “lame duck” in her final months in power.
Polling shows her Christian Democrats are poised to take the lead in forming a government after the election, but it remains unclear which parties would be included in a coalition.
Biden’s Democratic Party has tenuous majorities in the U.S. Congress that could evaporate in the 2022 congressional elections.
John Emerson, who served as ambassador to Germany under former President Barack Obama, said the relationship remains “indispensable” for Washington given Germany’s role as the largest economy in Europe and a NATO ally, as well as its importance as a bridge builder in dealing with Russia, the Middle East and North Africa.
Germany hosts some 36,000 U.S. troops on its soil.