What Merkel and Macron are to tell Trump in Davos?

Chancellor Angela Merkel met with her Austrian counterpart Sebastian Kurz for talks at the German Federal Chancellery, on 17 January. She is back in the international arena after months of problems at home and plans to travel to Davos this week. Photo: Bundesregierung/Kugler

Donald Trump, the American President, is to deliver the closing speech at this year’s World Economic Forum Annual Meeting of 23-26 January in Davos, which as usually is set in the unsullied Alpine landscape. Perhaps, he has something new to say about how America sees Europe. Most probably though, he is simply to repeat his aggressive rhetoric about the Old Continent’s or rather Germany’s faults, regarding bilateral trade and military spending. The French President Emmanuel Macron and the German Chancellor Angela Merkel are also to attend and speak at the 2018 Forum. In total, some thousands of political, government, business, financial and civil society leaders and super rich will be enjoying the legendary Swiss hospitality.

Obviously, both Merkel and Macron will grab the opportunity to engage Trump about his so far unreceptive attitude against Europe. What they are going to tell Trump will be surely related to the 2017 exchanges, between the two sides of the Atlantic Ocean. In order then to understand the meaning of the three speeches, one has to get acquainted with the important moments in the US-Europe relations during the past twelve months. Let’s dig into that.

Heavy traffic over the Atlantic

All along during last year the European leaders had difficulties grasping, what the Trump presidency means for the Old Continent. In his first participation to a NATO conference, the American president went as far as to tell some Europeans in general and Germany in particular, that they owe much money to the US and NATO. Why? For not meeting their obligation to spend 2% of their GDP on armaments, preferably ‘made in America’. He has also accused Germany of exploiting unwarranted advantages in their bilateral trade.

A striking and direct American uppercut hit against the German Chancellor Angela Merkel personally has also been recorded in 2017. Trump has repeatedly said she is destroying her country, by letting in hundreds of thousands of immigrants. In an indirect way, the US president was thus intervening in German political life, supporting the anti-immigration party AfD, a racist and extreme right group. In the September 2017 general election, Germany’s largest ruling party, Merkel’s conservative grouping of CDU, found out the hard way what it costs to maintain an open door policy for immigrants; AfD won one million voters from the conservatives.

Targeting Germany

Trump, even before winning the most important job of the planet, had targeted the US imports of German products. He actually spearheaded his electoral campaign with rhetoric against free world trade, and blamed the imports of BMWs, Mercedes and Audis as one of main causes for America’s imbalances. Still today, the United States is blaming the global free trade arrangement and questions the rules of the World Trade Organization for allegedly penalizing America. It’s not clear yet how seriously is the US planning to practically undercut free global trade, the platform which constitutes the foundation of German prosperity.

No wonder then why Angela Merkel told her European counterparts not to count on America any more, to fight together with the Old Continent, if threats appear. She clearly and loudly said “We Europeans should take our fate to our own hands”. It was as if the NATO bond between the two sides of the Atlantic Ocean was in serious doubt and the US no longer considered the security of Europe as vital as their own. Under Trump, the foundations and the values of the Western World are thus effectively shaken.

Shattering the ‘common values’

In this line of thinking, Trump’s America has also introduced the idea of founding political decision making on ‘alternative facts’. Trump’s White House initiated this unbelievable practice on the first day he stepped in there, by publicising exaggerated numbers, for the attendance of the swearing in ceremony, and then insisting on that. This preposterous way of thinking may not be related to Europe in a direct way, yet it’s a challenge against the sober and exact patent of German thinking.

Speaking about questioning the European standards for political and economic thinking and doing, Paris the ‘city of light’ seems not to have taken the same offence as Berlin. Actually, Emmanuel Macron the French President, invited Trump to together watch the super-spectacle of the ‘Quatorze-Juillet’ , the 14 July military parade in the Champs-Élysées. Trump, of an evidently clownish nature, greatly enjoyed this French treat. The US withdrawal from the United NationsParis Agreement’ for the environment didn’t stop Macron from offering Trump such an honor, despite the latter still insists NATO is an obsolete organization.

The French disconnection

There is no doubt that Trump’s European policy is targeting Germany, not France. This differentiation of the US mind-set towards Europe will be very probably evident in Trump’s Davos speech. It will also be present in what Merkel and Macron have to say to their audience of global leaders. It’s about time the European political horizon became clearer. Macron is currently rushing to precipitate it.

The weakening of Angela Merkel’s position in the internal political arena of her country, offers the French President the opportunity to try and restore France’s position as the ‘Political Academy’ of Europe. It’s not only that he has set the principles to reshape the future of Europe, in a way the Germans cannot easily follow; during the last two weeks, while visiting Beijing and London, Macron also appeared as the authentic representative of the European Union. He asked his Chinese host, Xi Jinping, to further ease the European investments in China and offered him as a gift a horse of the French National Guard. Then in London he promised Theresa May, the British PM, an EU-UK very ‘special trade deal’ after Brexit.

All in all, what Merkel and Macron have to tell Trump this week in Davos won’t be a well concerted narrative. The European divide will be also seem deepened by the anti-immigration rhetoric of the Visegrád (Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia) four leaders, who are openly siding with Trump in his xenophobic scheme.

 

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

the European Sting Milestones

Featured Stings

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

The global issue of migration in 2017

Nearly $4 billion needed to protect 41 million children from conflict and disaster

Greece lost a month that cannot be found neither in “mini Summits” nor in Berlin

Africa-Europe Alliance: European Commission committed to a sustainable African agri-food sector

UN chief encourages victims of terrorism to ‘raise up their voices’

Mental health problems costing Europe heavily

‘Concerted effort’ must be made to help 600 million-plus adolescent girls realize full potential: Guterres

EU Summit’s major takeaway: a handkerchief cannot save Greece from austerity

Transition between education and employment: how the internship culture is threatening the foundations of our education

The EU pretends not knowing what happens in the Western Balkans

250+ senior claims leaders under one roof, exchanging transformation strategy

104 countries have laws that prevent women from working in some jobs

This is how we inspire young people in the Middle East to join the fight against climate change

The EU can afford to invest trillions in support of employment

Service and Sacrifice: For Ghana, UN peacekeeping is a ‘noble opportunity to serve humanity’

The megatrend that will shape our working future

Mexico: UN chief saddened by pipeline blast in which dozens were killed

China is building 8 new airports a year

Fighting for minds of youth in Latvia

70 years on, landmark UN human rights document as important as ever

New York high school students are getting free water bottles to cut plastic waste

At G20 Summit OECD’s Gurría says collective action vital to tackle global challenges

Council Presidency: Floundering with the EU 2014 budget

I have a rare disease. This is my hope for the future of medicine

Saudi Arabia must halt air strikes in Yemen, says UN panel

Varna (Bulgaria) awarded European Youth Capital 2017

Migrants: ‘A powerful driver’ of economic growth, ‘dynamism and understanding’

The clothes of the future could be made from pineapples and bananas

What do the economic woes of Turkey, Argentina and Indonesia have in common?

How Japan can take the lead with an ageing workforce

EU Leaders’ meeting in Sofia: Completing a trusted Digital Single Market for the benefit of all

Hot air behind your cold fridge? Why the future of cooling must be sustainable

“As German Chancellor I want to be able to cope with the merger of the real and digital economy”, Angela Merkel from Switzerland; the Sting reports live from World Economic Forum 2015 in Davos

We’re facing a ‘cold crunch,’ and it’s nothing to do with the polar vortex

How India is harnessing technology to lead the Fourth Industrial Revolution

How ‘savings circles’ empower women in rural Africa

Will Eurozone be able to repay its debts? Is a bubble forming there?

6 things to know about the General Assembly as UN heads into high level week

Break taboo around menstruation, act to end ‘disempowering’ discrimination, say UN experts

The secret to ending war? It’s too easy: more women in peace negotiations

3 lessons from India in creating equal access to vaccines

Two peacekeepers killed in an attack against UN convoy in Mali

Radioactive nuclear waste is a global threat. These scientists may have a new solution

5 reasons to protect mangrove forests for the future

European Youth Forum and youngest MEPs call on President Juncker to keep his promise to Europe’s youth

Brexit negotiations: back to square one, tougher words, no good faith

Volkswagen getting away with it in Europe

Progress on gender equality is too slow, says OECD on International Women’s Day

Service and Sacrifice: Malaysian peacekeepers in Lebanon proud to serve their homeland and the United Nations

MWC 2016 LIVE: T-Mobile US reveals 5G trial plans

The power of trust and values in the Fourth Industrial Revolution

EU approves disbursement of €500 million in Macro-Financial Assistance to Ukraine

EU and China to do more in common if the global scene gets worse

The Council of Europe adopts Recommendation on young people’s access to rights

Vegans in France are using extreme tactics to stop people eating meat

More electric cars on EU roads by 2030

UN’s Bachelet rejects Sri Lankan official’s ‘spin’ on Human Rights Council encounter, urges reforms

Dutch voters reject EU-Ukraine partnership and open a new pandora’s box for the EU

How electrification can supercharge the energy transition

FROM THE FIELD: For refugees and migrants in Europe, healthcare’s essential but a challenge to find

More Stings?

Comments

  1. “We will pay you for you to incur losses. And also that you are afraid of being under constant sight from Russia because of our nuclear weapons “- that’s what Trump will say.

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s