Promoting cooperative prospect with Russia, a difficult task for Chancellor Angela Merkel

Monday, 2021-08-23 13:58:09
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Russian President Vladimir Putin and German Chancellor Angela Merkel at a meeting in Moscow on August 20, 2021. (Photo: VNA)
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NDO – In the framework of a foreign trip, perhaps her last as head of the German government, Chancellor Angela Merkel is making efforts to maintain dialogue and promote the prospect of cooperation with Russia. However, longstanding disagreements between Russia and the West continue to hinder her end-of term efforts.

A series of disagreements related to suspected cases of espionage, cyberattacks, and the of opposition political figures have pushed Russian-German relations, as well as Russia-European Union relations in general, into a stalemate.

At talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin on August 20, emphasising the need to maintain dialogue, German Chancellor Angela Merkel frankly pointed out issues of mutual concern, from cooperation on bilateral relations to pressing issues in the region and the world, including the conflict in eastern Ukraine and the situation in Afghanistan.

Russian President Putin said that Moscow and Berlin are not always able to find a common voice, but the two sides are forever ready for dialogue to find solutions. Affirming that Germany is Russia’s key partner in Europe and the world in terms of both politics and economy, President Putin cited data showing that, despite the serious impact of the epidemic, two-way trade between Russia and Germany almost doubled in the first half of 2021.

One of the main issues that Chancellor Merkel discussed during her visit to Russia was solutions to promote the completion of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline. This US$11 billion deal to bring gas from Russia to Europe has faced strong opposition from the US and some countries. The US feared the project will threaten the energy and economic security of its allies in Europe, especially Ukraine, which is receiving billions of dollars a year from gas transit fees.

After Russia, Chancellor Merkel immediately went to Ukraine to meet with President Volodymyr Zelensky, to reassure Kiev about the Nord Stream 2 pipeline.

Announcing she would not be running for election after four consecutive tenures as the head of Government, Angela Merkel is trying to complete unfinished goals ahead of the upcoming German federal parliamentary election. Both ensuring economic benefits with Russia, and convincing the US and its allies to accept the gas transportation project is a difficult task for Merkel as her time to leave office fast approaches.