Germany’s Post-Merkel Choice: Commercial Interests or the Transatlantic Relationship?

President Joe Biden was also speaking for Chancellor Angela Merkel when he said at their meeting last week in Washington in the context of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline “we will see.” Indeed, “we will see” is on the mind of most Transatlantic and Russian policymakers as Germany embarks on the most important political transition in decades. This transition from Chancellor Merkel to a yet unknown leader will have a heavy bearing on Transatlantic-Russian relations. Chancellor Merkel, albeit in Germany’s reluctant foreign policy style, has played—for good and for bad—Europe’s anchor role towards Russia. For good, she was the one who, despite the pro-Russian lobby both at home and among some fellow EU member states—held European sanctions against Russia together.

For good and for bad, she was also the lead on the Minsk Agreements that contained Ukraine’s Donbas conflict. For bad, she has bent European security interests to accommodate Germany’s consumer gas prices, at the price of U.S. sanctions, now temporarily lifted by President Biden. In similar terms, Chancellor Merkel has played an anchor role for Transatlantic relations, oftentimes bridging the Atlantic gap between American-skeptical Europeans, and—in their own ways Euro-skeptical—American Presidents.

Source: The National Interest

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