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Biden to meet Merkel at the White House on July 15 amid tensions with Nord Stream 2

President Biden will welcome German Chancellor Angela Merkel to the White House on July 15, press secretary Jen Psaki said on Friday.

Why is this important: The announcement comes as Biden makes his first overseas trip as president, which he uses in an attempt to rekindle ties between U.S. and European allies that had been strained under former President Trump. He will meet Merkel in person at the G7 summit on Friday.

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The context: Merkel, who is in her final year as Chancellor, will be the third foreign leader to meet Biden in the White House since taking office, following visits by Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga and South Korean President Moon Jae-in .

  • The German federal elections to select the next Bundestag, and then the next Chancellor, are due to take place on September 26.

  • Merkel will step down after 16 years as Chancellor of Germany, a remarkably stable term.

The big picture: The United States and Germany disagree on key goals throughout Biden’s tenure so far, particularly on presenting a united front against China and Russia.

  • Merkel wants to strengthen European financial ties with the Chinese. She has been the most prominent European voice in favor of an EU-China investment deal, despite Beijing’s human rights violations and sanctions against European lawmakers.

  • Germany is also determined to become economically closer to Russia by completing the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline between the two countries. Biden dropped sanctions against the corporation and CEO overseeing construction of the pipeline, citing a desire to restore relations with Germany and the difficulty of shutting down the near-completed pipeline.

  • Germany has also opposed the Biden administration’s support for a proposal to waive certain patent protections for coronavirus vaccines, saying it would create “serious complications” for vaccine production.

What they say : “Chancellor Merkel’s visit will confirm the deep bilateral ties between the United States and Germany, ”Psaki said in a statement.

  • The leaders will discuss their commitment to cooperate closely on a range of common challenges, including ending the COVID-19 pandemic, tackling the threat of climate change and promoting economic prosperity and international security on the basis of our common democratic values, ”she added.

Go further… Biden’s European pickup line: I’m not Trump

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