CARBIS BAY, ENGLAND – US President Joe Biden will welcome German Chancellor Angela Merkel to Washington on July 15 in what will likely be his farewell visit to the United States after nearly 16 years at the helm of the world‘s largest economy Europe.
The announcement was made on Friday the first day of the Group of Seven summit in England. Biden has welcomed two other world leaders since taking office, Japan and South Korea.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said Biden and Merkel will “discuss their commitment to cooperate closely on a series of common challenges, including ending the COVID-19 pandemic, tackling the threat climate change and the promotion of economic prosperity and international security based on our shared democratic values.
A standoff over the completion of the $ 11 billion Nord Stream 2 pipeline carrying Russian gas to Europe has strained ties as Berlin and Washington are anxious to rebuild their relationship after the former US president’s tenure Donald Trump.
The United States last month lifted sanctions on the company behind the pipeline, Russian state energy company Gazprom, giving Berlin and Washington three more months to resolve the dispute.
It will likely be Merkel’s farewell visit to the United States as she plans to step down after the national elections in September, regardless of where her Christian Democrats stand in the polls.
The trip is scheduled just days after a July 10 deadline for Europe and the United States to settle an almost 17-year-old dispute over government subsidies to Airbus and Boeing.
Officials in the United States and the European Union are optimistic that a deal will be reached before the currently suspended tariffs take effect on July 11.
Stormy-Annika Mildner, executive director of the Aspen Institute in Berlin, said two leaders would likely focus on common goals, such as ending the coronavirus pandemic and tackling climate change, as well as digitization and trade.
China and a proposal to waive intellectual property rights at the World Trade Organization – an initiative backed by Washington but opposed by Berlin – would also be on the agenda, she said.
The trip will highlight the importance of transatlantic and German-American relations at a time when many Germans remain nervous after the uproar of the Trump administration, she said.
“Merkel will send a message both ways – to the United States (…) and to us here in Germany – that this is a window of opportunity,” she said.
âThere is still a lot of distrust of the German population towards the United States. There is the fear that after Biden there will be another Trump. And even as far as Biden is concerned he won’t be able to deliver due to internal restrictions and the very small majorities Democrats have in Congress. “