“President Biden looks forward to welcoming Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany to the White House on July 15th, 2021,” press secretary Jen Psaki said, adding that ending the Covid-19 pandemic and tackling climate change were top of the agenda.
However, Merkel and Biden are expected to meet in person as early as this weekend on the sidelines of the G7 summit in Cornwall, southern England, for the first time since the US president took office in late January.
Both leaders are seeking a fresh start after the low point in German-American relations in the era of US President Donald Trump.
Trump repeatedly attacked Germany and also Merkel herself. Biden, on the other hand, leaves no doubt about how important the relationship with Germany is to him.
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As president, Biden not only reversed Trump’s ordered withdrawal of US troops from Germany but last month also refrained from imposing far-reaching sanctions on the German-Russian Nord Stream 2 pipeline, explaining that such punitive measures would have negatively affected “U.S. relations with Germany, the EU and other European allies and partners.”
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The meeting in Cornwall will show whether the dispute over the pipeline has really ended, removing the last obstacle to restarting German-American relations.
Merkel has been very restrained with foreign trips during the pandemic and has recently only travelled to Brussels for individual summit meetings or, as is the case now, to England.
The trip to Washington is also likely to be one of her last as chancellor. She will step down as head of government after the general election in September.
So far, Biden has received only two foreign guests in the White House – in light of the Corona pandemic: Japan’s Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga and South Korea’s President Moon Jae In.
Merkel would therefore be the third high-ranking guest from abroad during Biden’s term in office, which officially started in late January.