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Germany under the leadership of Chancellor Angela Merkel has found a path of stability and solid economic growth. Merkel has maintained control together with Macron of the European Union and her popularity is strengthened among Germans by her good handling of the Covid-19 crisis.
With the election of Biden, Merkel’s speech to the United States has taken a friendly turn with a break for the chancellor in economic and foreign policy matters, on the eve of the election of the new party leader next January.
In the 15 years of Merkel’s leadership, Germany has bet on economic growth hand in hand with China. In the midst of the pandemic, according to the Beijing regime, German companies like Mercedes Benz had high growth in the Asian giant. It has also promoted an agenda around climate change and the strengthening of the European Union in relation to the member states.
Merkel has been one of the strongest critics of the Trump administration. Since 2017, Germany and the United States have seen their relations affected by Trump’s taxes on European Union products and the pressure that the United States has put on its allies against China.
Unlike the UK, Australia and Canada, Germany’s dependence on the Chinese economy has meant that the German Chancellor has not taken concrete action on human rights violations in China.
According to DW, “the Bundestag is increasingly demanding clarity from the government in its condemnation of China”. Politicians and activists have called on Merkel to take a radical stand against a regime that, while is a vital partner in the German economy, brings with it a model of statehood that affects society and Merkel cannot ignore it.
In addition to pressure from the United States about Huawei, Merkel has faced resistance from German intelligence agencies, which say the company’s ties to the Chinese Communist Party pose a risk to information security but the chancellor is reluctant to take action that would affect Beijing’s interests.
In the race for Brexit, Merkel led a speech in defense of democracy and freedom and also criticized Trump’s comments to Representatives Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and Ayanna Pressley, which were described as racist and nationalist. However, when it comes to denouncing racism and the systematic violation of human rights in China and Hong Kong, Merkel remains silent.
US and Merkel to Re-establish Relations
Merkel’s tense relationship with Trump goes beyond undiplomatic behavior during state visits, considering that the tariffs imposed by the United States affect Germany significantly. For activists and victims in China, both the tariffs and the personal friction are not comparable to what the Chinese Communist Party regime represents for society.
However, the pressure on Merkel seems to have a respite with the election of Biden. As Pompeo makes his final visits to allied countries, world leaders are turning their attention to the future U.S. administration.
Merkel was among the first to congratulate Biden on his victory and has advocated the importance of restructuring transatlantic trade. At a press conference, Merkel took the opportunity to congratulate Biden and Harris and emphasized that ¨The U.S. and Germany, along with the European Union, must stand together to overcome the great challenges of our time” and referred to the “core values” that the U.S. and Europe share, such as democracy and freedom.
About Harris, stressed Merkel at the same conference, who as the first woman U.S. vice president and “daughter of immigrants,” is an “inspiration and an example” of the “possibilities” offered by the United States.
As opposed to Trump’s policies, the former Obama-Biden administration and the current Merkel administration in Germany have been strategic for Beijing. The two Western governments allowed Xi Jinping to advance his economic and political agenda.
In addition to the fact that in 2016, the Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton was more in favor of strengthening relations with China, even leaving aside Taiwan, Merkel can expect less pressure from Washington in the face of her ties with Beijing.
It should be remembered that the Trump administration influenced the change that Boris Jhonson gave to Huawei and that on the contrary Merkel. Trump has outlined a foreign policy that has been endorsed by the Senate and has strengthened the United States’ ties with its allies. According to the press, Mr Biden will reverse some of the current administration’s decisions, such as returning to the Paris Pact or US participation in the WHO, and will surely restore cordial relations with the European Union.
Camilo Bello is a consultant focused on Asia Pacific studies and has experience in strategic management. He has studied law in Colombia and is currently pursuing studies in language and history at National Taiwan Normal University. He has collaborated with Students for Freedom in Hong Kong and Taiwan // Camilo es consultor enfocado en estudios de Asia Pacífico y experiencia en gestión estratégica. Cuenta con estudios en Derecho en Colombia y actualmente se encuentra realizando estudios en lenguaje e historia en National Taiwan Normal University. Colaborador de Estudiantes por la Libertad en Hong Kong y Taiwán