Germany’s Merkel Stresses Importance of US-European Relations

German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Wednesday stressed the importance of the transatlantic relationship, saying the United States will always be Europe’s most important partner. Speaking during a digital foreign relations conference, sponsored by her parliamentary coalition, Merkel said transatlantic cooperation is “back in business, if you want to put it that way,” referring to the election of U.S. President Joe Biden. Merkel conceded that relations with the Trump administration hadn’t been as good as they might have been. Relations between Merkel and President Donald Trump had been strained over issues such as Russia and funding for NATO. She added that “back in business” did not necessarily mean “business as usual,” as a lot has changed in recent years. But Merkel said it was clear to her during “difficult” years that “we can only find answers to common tasks and the questions of the future in closer cooperation.” Merkel said that while Germany had no interest in a world divided into camps as it was during the Cold War, it was good that the United States, Europe’s “most important ally,” stood alongside the continent in rivalries with China and Russia. The chancellor also said global issues such as trade and climate change cannot be solved without good relations with China as well.  Merkel said she also supported a bilateral trade agreement between the European Union and the United States. “We have trade agreements with so many of the world’s regions,” she said. “It would make a lot of sense to develop such a trade agreement here, similar to what we have done with Canada.” After 13 years in office, Merkel has announced she will not seek reelection in the national vote later this year. 

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