Berlin is ready to work with Washington on issues such as the COVID pandemic, climate change and security, Merkel said.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said there was a wider scope to work with Washington now that Joe Biden has replaced Donald Trump in the White House.
Merkel said Germany and Europe were ready to do their part to resolve a range of issues in the transatlantic ferry, including the coronavirus pandemic, climate change and security threats with the new administration.
“There is just a much wider space for political agreement with President Biden,” Merkel said at a press conference in the German capital Berlin on Thursday, citing Biden’s return to the Paris deal. on climate and the World Health Organization (WHO) as well as its openness to migration as examples.
Merkel warned that with Biden in power “we can no longer count on a political agreement now”, but said there would be “discussions on how we are doing things right for the two countries”.
She stressed the need for Germany and Europe to assume a greater share of responsibility militarily, diplomatically and in other areas in its relations with the United States and declared “we are ready for this”, adding that the cooperation was “based again on a broader basis. of common conviction ”.
Merkel’s relationship with Trump has been freezing during her four years in power, with Germany-U.S. Relations crumbling.
Dominic Kane of Al Jazeera, reporting from Berlin, said there had been a “sigh of relief” from Merkel and several other European leaders after Trump left.
“She [Merkel] said there was a deep relief that there was now a partner to negotiate with, ”Kane said.
Trump has repeatedly criticized Germany’s contributions to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization during his tenure, complaining that he failed to increase defense spending to 2% of economic output, as the ‘had mandated the military alliance, a pillar of post-war European security.
In June of last year, he approved a plan to withdraw 9,500 US troops from Germany, criticizing the country for failing to meet the defense spending target and accusing Berlin of taking advantage of Washington on trade.
“The German hope … is that Biden will return, like his country too, in the belief that the Europe-U.S. Relationship is the bedrock of the security this continent has enjoyed for many decades,” Kane said of Al Jazeera.
Merkel also spoke on Thursday of the United States’ opposition to the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline project to bring Russian gas to Germany, saying there was a need for broad discussions with the Biden administration on the types of energy cooperation with the Russia “acceptable”.
But she criticized the US “extraterritorial sanctions” against the project as “irrelevant.”
“My take on Nord Stream 2 has not changed,” she said, despite growing tensions with Russia, most recently over the arrest of top Kremlin critic Alexey Navalny.
Nord Stream 2 is expected to double Russian natural gas shipments to Germany, Europe’s largest economy.
He has long been in the crosshairs of the United States, with Trump in particular openly criticizing European countries for their dependence on energy from Russia.
Work resumed on the nearly completed pipeline in December after a nearly year-long suspension caused by U.S. threats of asset freezes and visa restrictions for the companies involved.