Berlin is ready to work with Washington on issues such as the COVID pandemic, climate change and security, says Merkel.
Chancellor Angela Merkel said there is wider scope for working with Washington after Joe Biden replaced Donald Trump in the White House.
Merkel said Germany and Europe are ready to do their part to resolve a number of problems in the transatlantic area, including the coronavirus pandemic and climate change and security threats with the new management.
“There is only a much broader range of political agreements with President Biden,” Merkel said on Thursday at a press conference in the German capital, Berlin, citing Biden’s return to the Paris Agreement and the World Health Organization (WHO) and his openness to migration as examples.
Merkel warned With Biden in office, “we can now not only count on political agreement” but said there will be “discussions about how we can do things well for both countries”.
She underscored the need for Germany and Europe to take on a greater share of the responsibility in their relations with the US militarily, diplomatically and in other areas, saying, “We are ready for this,” adding that the cooperation “is back on one broader basis was based on common conviction ”.
Merkel’s relations with Trump were frosty during his four-year tenure, and relations between Germany and the US collapsed.
Al Jazeeras Dominic Kane, who reported from Berlin, said Merkel and several other EU leaders had to breathe a sigh of relief after Trump’s departure.
“She [Merkel] said there is a deep relief that there is now a partner to negotiate with, ”said Kane.
Trump repeatedly criticized Germany’s contributions to the organization of the North Atlantic Treaty during his tenure and complained that it had not been possible to increase defense spending to 2 percent of economic output, as prescribed by the military alliance, a pillar of post-war European security.
In June last year, he approved a plan to withdraw 9,500 US troops from Germany. He accused the country of failing to meet its defense spending target and accused Berlin of taking advantage of Washington for trade.
“The German hope … is that Biden, like his country, will be withdrawn in the belief that relations between Europe and the US are the foundation of the security that this continent has enjoyed for many decades,” said Kane from Al Jazeera .
Merkel also spoke on Thursday about US opposition to the Nord Stream 2 pipeline project to bring Russian gas to Germany and said extensive discussions were needed with the Biden government on what types of energy cooperation with Russia ” acceptable “.
However, she criticized the US “extraterritorial sanctions” against the project as “out of order”.
“My view of Nord Stream 2 has not changed,” she said despite growing tensions with Russia, most recently because of the arrest of leading Kremlin critic Alexey Navalny.
Nord Stream 2 will double Russian natural gas deliveries to Germany, Europe’s largest economy.
It has long been in the crosshairs of the United States, with Trump openly criticizing European countries in particular for relying on energy from Russia.
Work on the near-completed pipeline resumed in December after a nearly year-long hiatus caused by the U.S. asset freeze threat and visa restrictions on the companies involved.