Visiting Trump

German Chancellor to Head for Washington Mid-March

Münchner Sicherheitskonferenz
An increasingly awkward relationship: The closest Angela Merkel has come to the new U.S. administration was when she met Vice President Mike Pence in Munich, in February. Source: DPA

German Chancellor Angela Merkel will be paying U.S. President Donald Trump an official visit as early as March 14, according to news agency Reuters.

The information apparently came from Washington insiders.

German government spokesperson, Steffen Seibert, told reporters from German tabloid Bild: “We are not denying this.”

There would be further information in due course, Mr. Seibert added.

The last time the two leaders spoke officially was shortly after Mr. Trump’s election in January. The U.S. president said he would be attending the G20 meeting, the annual, international forum for 20 major world economies, in Hamburg in July and this was initially going to be the two leaders’ first meeting in person. However, Mr. Trump also said that he would invite Ms. Merkel to visit him soon.

Pressing issues between Germany and the U.S. include defense spending as well as international trade tit-for-tat.

Up until now, the closest Ms. Merkel has come personally to the new U.S. administration was when she met the U.S. Vice President Mike Pence within the auspices of the Munich Security Conference last month.

Two senior members of the German government have already made the trans-Atlantic trip. German defense minister Ursula von der Leyen met her American counterpart, General James Mattis, in Washington in February and German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel met Mr. Pence there earlier the same month.

No doubt the two leaders will have much to discuss. Pressing issues between Germany and the U.S. include Germany’s defense spending and how much it contributes to the NATO alliance, as well as international trade tit-for-tat and U.S. participation in several international agreements and organizations.

There are certainly some major differences between the two leaders’ policies. Mr. Trump has criticized Ms. Merkel’s policies on refugees and immigration and has also taken aim at Germany’s budget surplus and the European Union in general.

Ms. Merkel, who had a very good relationship with Mr. Trump’s predecessor, Barack Obama, has generally been cooler toward the new president and critical of his travel ban on people from seven Muslim-majority countries.

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