Biden, Merkel united against Russia, disagreements remain
United States President Joe Biden and German Chancellor Angela Merkel have pledged a unified front against “Russian aggression” from Moscow, while remaining at odds over the Russia-to-Germany Nord Stream 2 pipeline, in what is likely the outgoing German leader’s final visit to the White House as a head of state.
Biden and Merkel were quick to strike a familiar tone during the German leader’s first visit to Washington following four years of fraught relations under former President Donald Trump.
“On a personal note, I must tell you I will miss seeing you at our summits,” Biden said as he stood by Merkel, the second-longest serving chancellor in Germany’s history, during a late afternoon joint news conference on Wednesday. “I truly will.”
Merkel, in turn, repeatedly referred to Biden as “Dear Joe”.
“I value the friendship,” she told reporters while hailing the US and Germany as sharing the same values and “determination to tackle the challenges of our times”.
On Russia, Biden and Merkel were careful to stress unity on standing up to “aggression” as they navigated a longstanding disagreement over the nearly-completed Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipeline, which would deliver gas from the Arctic to Germany via the Baltic Sea, bypassing Ukraine and depriving it of valuable transit fees.