Prudent Merkel Meets Unpredictable Trump

Angela MerkelAngela Merkel

Europe’s most powerful leader, Angela Merkel, meets for the first time on Tuesday US President Donald Trump, whose arrival in the White House has sent shockwaves across the Atlantic.

While former US president, Barack Obama, had labeled Merkel his “closest international partner”, there has been little known contact between the German leader and Trump since he took office, reported.

Trump’s criticism of Germany over issues ranging from its record trade surplus to Merkel’s liberal refugee stance, as well as his backing for Britain to leave the European Union, have not gone unnoticed in Berlin.

A month after US Vice President Mike Pence delivered a message to Europe underscoring the importance of transatlantic ties, Tuesday’s meeting will be scrutinized for clues on whether Trump fully endorses that message.

The reserved German leader underlined that she is travelling to Washington not only as Germany’s leader, but also as an envoy of the EU.

“I will of course point out that for us, our country and our membership in the European Union are two sides of the same coin,” Merkel said in Brussels ahead of the visit.

The Washington meeting would also allow for “an exchange of bilateral and international topics, and transatlantic ties, as we have always stressed, are very important,” added Merkel’s spokeswoman, Ulrike Demmer.

As in other similar tours, Merkel will be accompanied by an army of business leaders, but this time the delegation faces an uncertain reception as Trump preaches an “America First” policy.

The meeting will also be closely watched for the dynamics between the two leaders who appear to stand far apart on content and style.

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