Merkel, who will not seek another term in Germany's September 26 elections, after almost 16 years as the head of the country, is expected discuss the coronavirus panademic, China's rise and the Russian gas pipeline, which Washington opposes. Merkel met with Vice President Kamala Harris at breakfast, and plans to meet other senior U.S. officials.
"In part this is a farewell tour. Johannes Thimm, a senior fellow from the German Institute for International and Security Affairs in Berlin, said that she was signaling continuity and stability within the German-U.S. relations.
Many Washington officials are curious about the course Germany will take following the vote. Thimm stated that the chancellor , who has dealt with four U.S. Presidents in her time, will try to assure Americans that there won’t be a major shift.
Merkel's party leads in polls. However, the Greens and the Social Democrats (center-left) are also competing to be the next government. Although the parties have different policies, they all support strong trans-Atlantic relations.
A new pipeline that transports natural gas from Russia to Germany was one of the sour notes that preceded and survived the Donald Trump era diplomatic discord.
The United States has long argued Nord Stream 2 will harm European energy security. It will increase Europe's dependence on Russian gas and allow Russia to exert political pressure upon vulnerable countries in Central and Eastern Europe. Biden, however, recently lifted sanctions on German entities that were involved in the project. This move angered many members of Congress.
Biden will likely raise concerns about the pipeline with Merkel, but according to a Biden administration official, the White House wasn't anticipating any kind of formal announcement from their talks.
Merkel tried to dampen hopes for a breakthrough but she will likely want to resolve this issue before she leaves office. Thimm stated that it had a negative impact on German-U.S. relations as well as German-EU relations.
Although German officials have been unusually cautious about the topics that will be covered during the trip's duration, Merkel's spokesperson confirmed Wednesday: China will be there.
Steffen Seibert stated that "that can be said with relative certainty." "This also played a significant role at The G-7 summit where the chancellor met the American president."
Germany is a strong trading partner with China, but it has been critical of Beijing's human right record. Merkel wants to avoid that Germany or the European Union is forced to choose sides with the United States.
Merkel insists on the necessity of cooperating with China on global problems such as climate change or the coronavirus panademic, while Trump accuses Beijing of starting it.
Doctors Without Borders, a humanitarian group, urged Biden not to oppose the idea of suspending vaccine patents. Merkel is a scientist who has claimed that the removal of patents would not be effective and could damage future research and development efforts.
A group of Democratic lawmakers urged Germany to end its "blockade" on a COVID-19-related waiver for intellectual property rights under global trading rules. The lawmakers suggested that such a waiver would allow for greater production of vaccines in the world.
Although the Biden administration supports the World Trade Organization waiver, officials from the White House do not expect any differences to be resolved during Merkel’s visit.
Although there are some tensions, Biden seems keen to bid Merkel farewell.
Harris hosted Merkel to breakfast at her home on the grounds the U.S. Harris hosted Merkel for breakfast at her residence on the grounds of the U.S. In honor of Merkel, the president has planned a small dinner.
Merkel was greeted by Harris upon her arrival at the residence. Merkel thanked Harris for her "extraordinary career" and praised Harris for the historic nature of Harris' vice presidency .
Merkel stated, "I can only tell that I'm thrilled, too, for the opportunity here to meet with the first madam vice-president of the United States of America,"
Merkel will also be awarded an honorary doctorate from Johns Hopkins University, her 18th. She is scheduled to give a speech at the school's School of Advanced International Studies.