Macron crowned king of Europe in Washington D.C.; just a working meeting with Trump for Merkel

From the arrival ceremony of the President of France and Mrs. Macron, for a state visit to the White House, Washington D.C. 24/4/2018. Snapshot from a video. US Government work.

A rare service Donald Trump is currently doing for the Europeans is that he offers them a platform for important common action to be undertaken by the French President Emmanuel Macron and the German Chancellor Angela Merkel. They are both visiting the White House this week, but expect quite different reception from Trump; pompous state visit for Macron, but just working meeting for Merkel.

In any case, the two European leaders are painstakingly trying to convince the ‘America first’ President to endorse the nuclear deal with Iran. By the same token, Germany and France have a strong common interest to convince Trump to abandon his protectionist anti free trade policy and rhetoric. During the next few weeks or even days it will become clear if they succeeded. Let’s take one thing at a time.

A French preponderance

For the free trade issue however, Germany has much more at stake than France. As a result, is rather unclear if Macron will be equally pressing the Americans as Angela Merkel is expected to do, when they successively meet Trump in the White House. France has never been targeted by Trump as an aggressive exporter ‘stealing’ jobs from Americans. On the contrary, Germany is a standard target of the White House, when it comes to foreign trade.

Actually, Trump has threatened the imports of German cars in the US with additional tariffs. He blames Europe for the woes of the American automotive industry and also for applying non-tariff barriers to the sales of US cars in the EU.

A rare honor for Macron

This week, both the French President and the German Chancellor are visiting the US, to meet Trump in the White House. Macron’s visit is scheduled to last for three days, while Merkel will be received in the White House only for a few hours. There would also be a striking difference in the White House etiquette, in successively receiving the two European leaders during the short interval of less than one week. Macron and his wife are welcomed with great honors. On Tuesday, the French Presidential couple was greeted with rare ceremonial parades.

It’s the first full protocol ‘state visit’ of a foreign leader during Trump’s tenancy of the White House, gorgeously choreographed in honor of Macron. No other leader is so far given this honor by the current US administration. As for Angela Merkel, her visit is designed to comprise nothing more than a few hours working meeting with Trump, with whom the German Chancellor has a difficult relation. On the contrary, Macron and Trump have developed a very good chemistry.

What do Paris and Berlin want?

Not to forget, Paris was a solid ally of Washington at the latest missile attack against Bashar al-Assad’s Syria. On that occasion, Berlin adopted a stance of more or less neutrality, not wanting to enrage Vladimir Putin, the basic supporter of Assad’s regime in war torn Syria. In reality, this Syrian affair has left Germany sitting on the fence not knowing where to stand, squinting to both sides.

The differences between France and Germany in their viewing of the world are quite important. Berlin has much stronger ties with Moscow than Paris, while France is definitely attached to the US. Germany depends to an important degree on Russian natural gas to keep her running. Moscow and Berlin are keen to build a second gas pipeline supplying Germany with Russian natural gas, a twin of the first Nord Stream Line I. The approval of Denmark for this last project is needed, because the pipeline passes through Danish territorial waters. The issue is currently confusing the tiny country, because Britain and the US are pressing Copenhagen to bar Nord Stream Line II, while the German neighbor badly needs it.

Paris and Berlin

No doubt that Berlin and Paris are in strategically different lines. France is an Atlantic and Mediterranean power with strong interests in Africa and the Middle East. Germany being practically cut off from these regions of the world has turned eastwards towards Russia. Of course, Germany is inseparably attached to the Western world, but still has to look eastwards since the other options are obviously blocked. Up to now, Germany didn’t so badly need an eastwards opening. Until a few months ago, the prevailing full liberties in international trade had offered Germany the perfect opportunity to thrive, and she took full advantage.

Unfortunately, free trade and unimpeded exports seem to be now under fire from the American protectionist practices and rhetoric, which directly threaten Germany’s welfare, heavily depending on foreign sales. Add to that the possible German losses from Brexit and the inbuilt problems of Eurozone, and Berlin must feel obliged to keep now more than ever the eastern openings available.

A segregated world

In our increasingly segregated world though between West and Russia, it becomes everyday more difficult for any country to keep both options wide open. However, since the Russian option doesn’t fully suit Germany, Berlin will be obliged in the end to pay its dues to keep the westward highways wide open.

Tomorrow Friday, Merkel is to be received in the White House. The last time the German Chancellor was there, she was disturbed to hear Donald Trump asking her country to pay NATO and the US hundreds of billions of dollars in arrears. If the US administration now prepares a similar reception for Merkel, we will learn how expensive it will be for Berlin to continue having the westwards option available.

 

Advertising

the sting Milestone

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

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

Trade Committee advocates lower tariffs in Western Sahara

First-ever EU defence industry fund to finance joint development of capabilities

Palestine refugee agency chief resigns amidst mismanagement probe

This is the human impact of COVID-19 – and how business can help

Combat against devastating effects of tobacco can only be won ‘if the UN stands united’ – UN health official

This wristband tells you what food to buy based on your DNA

Only the private sector can help deliver universal healthcare in Africa

Bid to raise $5.5 billion for millions of Syrians and their host communities

UN and partners appeal for $920 million to meet ‘dire needs’ of Rohingya refugees

The mother of all fights about inflation, growth and banks

EU cross-border payments outside Eurozone: MEPs scrap excessive fees

Monday’s Daily Brief: Independent UN experts on Myanmar, UN chief renounces attacks in US, Libyan airport violence, UN spokesperson on Kashmir, and FAO and Italy on development

Ebola cases rising in DR Congo, but UN health agency cites progress in community trust-building

5 ways to be a better humanitarian

EU presses India for a free trade agreement

AXA and Fremtind discuss how AI and analytics is changing insurance claims forever

Sweden is a top performer on well-being. Here’s why

Pedal power makes ‘positive impact on climate’, urges UN on World Bicycle Day

On technology and medical ethics

Yemen: Security Council backs new mission in support of key port city truce

Hardened creditors drive Greece to dire straits; Tsipras desperate for an agreement

EU’s new environmental policy on biofuels impacts both the environment and the European citizen

The Czech economy is thriving but boosting skills and productivity and transitioning to a low-carbon productive model is vital to sustainable and inclusive growth

An all-out fight for the EU budget

Germany resists Macron’s plan for closer and more cohesive Eurozone; Paris and Berlin at odds

Respect people’s peaceful assembly and fair trail rights, UN human rights wing urges Nicaragua

The five stages of the Chief Digital Officer – and why they often fail

Tanzania’s Dual Burden

First 17 “European Universities” selected: a major step towards building a European Education Area

4 big trends for the sharing economy in 2019

China hails human rights progress amid calls to close detention camps

Youth Forum welcomes positive ruling on non-EU student visas

Britain, EU take edgy steps to unlock Brexit talks as the war of words rages

European Junior Enterprises to address the significant skills mismatch in the EU between school and employment

Take care of your borders and then expand them

G20 LIVE: “Our response needs to be robust…otherwise we will only find the fire we are trying to put out”, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon just lit up G20 in Antalya Turkey

UN experts urge India to align new anti-trafficking bill with human rights law

No way out for Eurozone’s stagnating economy

Europe moulds global defense and security chart given US new inward vision

Mozambique pledging conference hopes to soften devastating blow of back-to-back cyclones

How banks should prepare for robots going rogue

Climate change helped destroy these four ancient civilisations

The Parliament paves the way for the creation of the European Banking Union

What brands get wrong about China – and how to put it right

What is ‘South-South cooperation’ and why does it matter?

It’s Brexit again: Nigel Farage launches a personal campaign to lead the ‘No’ front

Idea of ‘homogenous’ Polish culture is a myth: UN human rights expert

Artificial Intelligence has a gender problem. Here’s what to do about it

With a premature death every five seconds, air pollution is violation of human rights, says UN expert

This is where teachers are paid the most

Lack of access to clean water, toilets puts children’s education at risk, says UN

We must treat cybersecurity as a public good. Here’s why

Grexit no longer a threat but how to manage a “tutti frutti” government if not with fear?

World Retail Congress Dubai 2016: Retail’s night of nights

Eurozone: How can 200 banks find €400 billion?

Everybody for himself in G20 and IMF

European Parliament approves more transparency and efficiency in its internal rules

This Brooklyn farm company is training a new generation of urban farmers

Eurozone’s credibility rock solid

Global aid appeal targets more than 93 million most in need next year

More Stings?

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