German Chancellor Olaf Scholz will meet U.S. President Joe Biden at the White House on February 7 to discuss the ongoing tensions between Russia and Ukraine, among other things.
On Thursday, Press Secretary Jen Psaki confirmed media reports on both sides of the Atlantic regarding the meeting. In a statement, Psaki explained, “The two leaders will discuss Russian aggression against Ukraine. The meeting provides an opportunity to affirm the deep and enduring ties between the United States and Germany.”
Psaki added, “They will also discuss the importance of continued close cooperation on a range of common challenges, including ending the COVID-19 pandemic, addressing the threat of climate change, and promoting economic prosperity and international security.”
Scholz became Chancellor in December, replacing Angela Merkel, who had held the post for 16 years. Biden spoke with the new Chancellor towards the end of 2021 to congratulate him on his position. Scholz’s inaugural visit to the States comes after his tour of European capitals such as Brussels, Madrid, and Paris.
As NATO partners, the United States and Germany have enjoyed close ties since the end of World War II. As a rule, the new German Chancellor always visits America early on in their term. Germany’s reasonably solid relationship with Russia also makes them a crucial ally for the United States. The two countries are both eager to work with Russia and reach an agreeable resolution to the Ukraine situation.
Unlike several other western states, Germany continues to refuse to sell military equipment to Ukraine. However, apart from China, Germany sells more goods to Russia than any other country. Except for China and the Netherlands, Germany also buys more from Russia than any other country. As such, any German sanctions against Russia could carry considerable weight and force Russia to reconsider its current stance over Ukraine.
As Europe’s biggest economy, Germany also accommodates the endpoint for Russia’s Nord Stream 2 pipeline. Originally, Washington was in fierce opposition to the pipeline but decided to tolerate it in the name of maintaining good relationships with Germany. However, if Moscow does go ahead with an invasion of Ukraine, America will apply pressure on Berlin to end the project. The pipeline has been completed but not yet activated.