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


President Biden will host German Chancellor Angela Merkel at the White House on July 15, press secretary Jen Psaki announced Friday.

Why it matters: The announcement comes as Biden is on his first overseas trip as president, which he is using to attempt to reinvigorate ties between the 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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Context: Merkel, who is in her last year as chancellor, will be the third foreign leader to meet with Biden at the White House since he took office, following visits from Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga and South Korean President Moon Jae-in.

  • German federal elections to select the next Bundestag, and subsequently the next chancellor, are expected to be held on Sept. 26.

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

The big picture: The U.S. and Germany have disagreed on key objectives throughout Biden’s term so far, specifically on presenting a united front against China and Russia.

  • Merkel wants to strengthen European financial connections with the Chinese. She has been the most prominent European voice advocating for an EU-China investment deal, despite Beijing’s human rights abuses and sanctioning of European lawmakers.

  • Germany also is determined to grow economically closer to Russia by completing the Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipeline between the two countries. Biden dropped sanctions against the corporate entity and CEO overseeing the construction of the pipeline, citing the desire to repair relations with Germany and the difficulty of halting the nearly completed pipeline.

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

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

  • “The leaders will discuss their commitment to close cooperation on a range of common challenges, including ending the COVID-19 pandemic, addressing the threat of climate change, and promoting economic prosperity and international security based on our shared democratic values,” She added.

Go deeper… Biden’s European pick-up line: I am not Trump

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