AUTHOR: Zeljko Trkanjec
This message is to confirm that the administration in Washington does not want to strengthen ties with the EU, but it wants its break-up in order to put pressure on one country at a time
When someone arrives at the hotel, the fundamental courtesy dictates that he must be met with nice words. If we quarrel with guests, then it we’ll talk about this later, and generally accuse us guilty of all. Because we did not comply with social rules that apply to the customer. These rules apply in high politics also. Unless the idea is not to pre-mine the whole event.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel on March 14 goes to Washington, after British Prime Minister and the heads of the Japanese and Canadian governments. Peter Navarro, head of the National Trade Council at the White House, therefore the First Counselor of the American President Donald Trump when it comes to trade, already once has attacked Germany, putting it at the level of China: he accused Berlin that, using its influence in the European Central Bank (ECB) , is manipulating the value of the Euro as Beijing does with the yuan.
As Fed does.
Germany’s government this accusation calmly repelled, arguing that there is has no impact on the functioning of the Euro because the ECB is independent as US Fed (who announced that, earlier than anticipated, will raise interest rates, without having consulted Trump). And now Navarro finally opened his cards and said what he has at heart: he invited Berlin to bilateral negotiations to reduce the US trade deficit with Germany. Going on he accused the first European economic power that it is “hiding behind EU membership”.
This statement caused an extremely negative reaction in the European Union because it represents another confirmation of American dichotomous politics – where it is not clear whether such is a result of the chaos that reigns in the White House and still undefined policies across the board or it is indeed a policy that, in his interview with the German diplomat, stated Steve Bannon, Trump’s chief advisor, who said that the EU should fail. It, however, seems that this case is more inclined towards Bannons influence, and less towards statements, that during his stay in Europe last month, presented Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Defence Minister James Mattis saying that “the United States supports a strong EU”. Navarro openly said he could not understand why the United States should negotiate with the European Commission, and not with Berlin. From that it can be clearly concluded that the White House has a problem of dealing with the EU and that therefore, because of this, has strongly supported Brexit – because it will be easier to negotiate only with London, then with London as part of the Commission.
The trade deficit of the United States with Germany amounts to 65 billion dollars and Navarro considers it a matter of national security. And completely rejects the reality that Germany is a member of the EU, the Euro area and that it acts according to their rules (if these are in its favor, the more the better for it – but, let’s say, also for Croatia, which grows when grow Germany, Italy and Slovenia). Here’s what Navarro expects: “I think it would be useful to have an open discussion with Germany to reduce the deficit beyond the limitations and restrictions of which they claim to oblige them.” It is almost astounding whith what simplistic stance Navarro approaches as he did not know that before that day Germany openly stood behind the idea of strengthening the EU in all areas. And now he expect that Angela Merkel, the leading political figure in this process will give up in favor of Trump who had several times openly insulted her because of her policies toward immigrants of which she still immensely proud.
Maybe he shall feel a bit easier when he receives information that the German industrial orders in January dropped most in the past eight years. But in Berlin this did not rang alarm bells because when you look at the two-month orders level (December, January), then drop compared to last year is only 0.4 percent. But Merkel and Trump will agree on one metter. Last year, a Chinese company bought German robot manufacturer Kuka, and that has caused concern in the EU. Berlin, Paris and Rome requested from Brussels that it defines the legal system that would safeguard such strategic businesses.
The same problem is facing US and so the agreement will the be easier to achieve. Regardless that China last year, for the first time in history, jumped over America and became the first trading partner of Germany (trade between them amounts to 170 billion Euros).
Washington in turn, as well as many other global players, is concerned about German record surplus from unification, which amounts to 24 billion Euros. Immediately develops debate whether this is a positive development or a threat to the German economy. But the Germans are satisfied and pay no heed to the warnings coming from the ECB or the IMF.
Images at source above.