Germany to Stand ‘Side by Side’ with America Led by Biden, Merkel Vows
German Chancellor Angela Merkel, whose strained relations with outgoing US President Donald Trump have been no secret, has sent a strong message of support to projected US President-elect Joe Biden, vowing a resurgence of the key Trans-Atlantic alliance between the two leading Western powers.
Even though the results from the 2020 US presidential election technically have not been finalized yet, and Trump has not conceded to losing, over the weekend, Germany’s state leader was among the first global leaders to congratulate Democrat Joe Biden on his win.
In a speech on Monday, November 9, 2020, Merkel offered more detailed remarks with warmly-worded support for Biden.
The German Chancellor outlined her vision for a resurgence of the long-standing American-German partnership under the future Biden Administration even though she is herself going to retire after her fourth term expires in 2021.
“[Joe Biden] has a great deal of experience with Germany and Europe,” Merkel stated as she once again congratulated Biden on his project win of the US Presidency.
She promised that Germany intended to stand “side by side” with the United States with respect to the handling of crucial international issues such as the coronavirus pandemic, climate change and global terrorism.
“The friendship of our two countries has stood the test of time… [The Trans-Atlantic ties are] a] treasure that we must preserve,” the German leader emphasized, as cited by DW.
At the same time, she urged Germany and Europe also to “take on more responsibility” in their relationship with US.
Oftentimes described as the most powerful woman in the world on occasion over the past 15 years, Merkel also dwelled on the election of Biden’s running mate, Vice President-elect Kamala Harris.
She spoke of Harris, the first woman, black person, and person of Indian heritage to become Vice President of the United States, as an “inspiration” and symbol “of what is possible in America.”
In her speech made on November 9, the day of the anti-Jewish pogrom carried out by the Nazis in 1938 and the day of the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, Merkel mentioned used the date to stress the healing role that the US had played in German history.
During the four years of the Trump Administration, US – German relations have been particularly strained, with the US President oftentimes lashing out against Berlin or personally against Merkel.
Trump has criticized Germany many times for failing observe the NATO defense spending target of 2% of its GDP.
Earlier in 2020 he ordered the withdrawal of several thousand US troops from the long-standing US bases in the country, which have existed since the time of the Cold War.
Trump has also criticized Berlin repeatedly for Germany’s energy dependence on Russia.
In particular, his dislike for the Russian-sponsored Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipeline via the Baltic Sea, however, has been universally bipartisan in the United States, with Congress slapping sanctions on companies contributing to the realization of the project, thus leading its construction to largely grind to a halt.
The poisoning of Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny in August 2020, followed by his subsequent treatment in Germany, has further complicated the completion of the Nord Stream 2 gas transit pipeline, which is supposed to double the capacity for the exports of natural gas from Russia directly to Germany via the Baltic Sea.
Thus, the Biden Administration is expected to remain just as hostile of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline as its predecessor.
Also on Monday, Germany’s Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, who is a representative of the junior partner in Merkel’s ruling coalition, the German Social Democratic Party (SPD), spoke of “many new chances” for cooperation between Berlin and Washington as a result of Biden’s projected win.
According to Maas, Biden’s victory is going to provide a chance to revive the 2015 Iranian nuclear deal, a landmark foreign policy achievement of the Obama Administration abandoned in 2018 by Trump.
“We need to come back together on this,” Maas told public radio Deutschlandfunk, as cited by DW.
In his criticism of Germany, outgoing President Donald Trump has also been throwing a lot of accusations at German exporters insisting that German business has been taking advantage of the United States, and threatening import tariffs on German and EU goods such as cars.
Commenting in turn on Biden’s win, German Economy Minister Peter Altmaier declared he hoped to see less “America first and fewer unilateralism on part of the US with respect to trade.
“[Under Biden, there will be a] chance that there are no further escalations in tarrifs,” Altmaier said.