Giuseppe Sandro Mela.
Gli allegati sono parte integrante dell’articolo.
La Bundeskanzlerin Frau Merkel e l’entourage che la supporta avevano da lungo tempo preso la decisione di contrapporsi muro e muro al Presidente Trump. Basterebbe solo pensare alle dure parole che Frau Merkel usò all’allora candidato Mr Trump ed a quelle ancora più dure usate dopo la sua elezione.
Né ci si dovrebbe dimenticare lo sgarbo di aver fatto mandare le congratulazioni per l’elezione con notevole ritardo e non a firma della Bundeskanzlerin, come da usuale prassi diplomatica, ed anche di sano buon senso.
La disintegrazione dei liberals democratici sembrerebbe aver totalmente colto di sorpresa le cancellerie europee, massimamente quella tedesca.
Vi sono evidenti motivi politici, ma anche, e forse soprattutto, altrettanto evidenti motivi economici e psicologici.
Almeno apparentemente, la Bundeskanzlerin Frau Merkel si sta comportando come se fosse in preda ad una severa sindrome isterico-depressiva post climaterica, che colpisce oltre il 50% delle donne in quel delicato momento transazionale. Il comportamento infatti della Bundeskanzlerin sembrerebbe avere ben poco di substrato razionale.
Se è vero che Frau Merkel ha un suo bagaglio “valoriale“, come ella stessa lo definisce, è altrettanto vero che abbia cercato in ogni maniera non di proporlo e discuterlo, bensì di imporlo, sia nell’Unione Europea sia in tutta la sua politica estera. È un vissuto che Frau Merkel presenta come apodittico, come verità assoluta ed incontestabile, di portata tale anche da far passare in secondo piano buon senso e ragion di stato.
Questa rigidità mentale e ragionativa le ha portato più nemici che amici, ed adesso la sta isolando, sia nell’Unione Europea sia a livello internazionale.
Da manuale il modo come ella sta conducendo la preparazione del G20 a presidenza tedesca.
Una presidenza sonda dapprima le differenti opinioni ed esigenze, quindi elabora un programma che abbia come principale caratteristica la fattibilità. Esattamente l’opposto di ciò che ha fatto Frau Merkel e, quindi, la Germania.
Non ci si stupisce quindi se in molti non intendono stringerle la mano.
L’elemento di cui ben poco si ama parlare è che la Germania, come l’Italia, ha un bilancio fortemente sbilanciato verso il finanziamento del welfare e delle classi anziane.
Questa è la palla al piede che condiziona fortemente l’operato della Bundeskanzlerin, specie poi durante un anno elettorale, essendosi essa riproposta per un quarto mandato.
Dal G20 è scomparso il “clima“, elemento che stava estremamente a cuore sia alla Bundeskanzlerin, sia alla dirigenza dell’Unione Europea, sia ai liberals americani. È letteralmente scomparso dai discorsi dei politici e dai media, come se mai fosse esistito. Ma dietro al clima c’era un business stimabile attorno ai 13,500 miliardi. Perdita non da poco.
Ma ciò che maggiormente dovrebbe essere stressato è il mutamento si direbbe epocale nella governace del G20.
Se in passato l’Occidente si presentava compatto e governava la riunione, adesso gli Stati Uniti si sono alleati con la Cine, l’India e l’Arabia Saudita. Questa nuova ed inedita alleanza ha obbligato la Germania a togliere ogni riferimento al ‘clima’ alla velocità della luce, ed a ridimensionare severamente la portata dei colloqui sul commercio.
Una débâcle per la Bundeskanzlerin Frau Merkel, da leggersi tra l’altro con l’assenza di Mr Tillerson dalla riunione Nato prossima ventura.
«The G20 has failed to agree a joint position on free trade at the Baden-Baden summit. This is a harbinger of how difficult it may be to strike international agreements with the US going forward, says Henrik Böhme.»
La rivolta di Frau Merkel sembrerebbe essere abortita prima ancora di nascere. E da queste posizioni di debolezza dovrà rinegoziare i finanziamenti tedeschi per la difesa.
Non si nega che si sarà curiosi di vedere il sorrisetto del Presidente Putin al G20: sembrerà il gatto che fa la posta al sorcio.
→ Bloomberg. 2017-03-20. Germany, Japan Push Trade Deal as Merkel Seeks Anti-Trump Allies
– Abe in Germany says he wants to help champion open markets
– Two G-7 leaders stand together after both met U.S. president
German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe called for a concerted effort to defend free trade, expanding the list of economic powers joining together to counter the U.S. shift toward protectionism.
Barely 48 hours after Merkel and President Donald Trump clashed on economic policy at their first White House meeting, the German leader called for swift conclusion of a trade accord between Japan and the European Union. That followed a renewed German-Chinese commitment to open markets on the eve of her trip to Washington and Merkel’s backing for a free-trade accord between the EU and Mercosur, the South American economic bloc.
“Of course we want fair markets, but we don’t want to put up barriers,” Merkel said Sunday evening in a speech in Hanover, Germany, pushing back against Trump’s pledge to enact “America First” policies. “At a time when we have to quarrel with many about free trade, open borders and democratic values, it’s a good sign that Germany and Japan aren’t quarreling about that.”
Abe said Japan, the EU’s second-biggest Asian trading partner after China, “wants to be the champion of upholding open systems alongside Germany.” The prime minister, who met Trump in February, said “it will be necessary to have rules that are fair and can stand up to democratic appraisal.” Abe and Merkel are due to give a press briefing later on Monday at the Hanover trade fair, where Japan is this year’s partner country.
The display of German-Japanese unity underscores a rift elsewhere among the world’s biggest economic powers after U.S. insistence on “fair” trade triggered conflict at a weekend meeting of Group of 20 finance chiefs in Germany. Another potential clash looms when Trump, Abe, Merkel and the leaders of Canada, France, Italy and the U.K. meet at a Group of Seven summit in Sicily in May.
A commitment to free trade and defense spending are emerging as the first key dividing lines with the Trump administration, with Germany in the firing line on both counts. The U.S. and Germany traded barbs over the weekend over Trump’s assertion on Twitter that “Germany owes vast sums of money” to NATO and the U.S. for defense.
The clashing views of trade were exposed when Trump told Merkel at a White House news conference on Friday that the U.S. had been treated “very, very unfairly” and said “negotiators for Germany” had bested their American counterparts.
Merkel replied with an explanation of how the EU conducts trade talks, saying it’s the Brussels-based European Commission that negotiates on behalf of all 28 EU countries.
The U.S. stance is pushing China and Germany, the world’s No. 1 and No. 3 exporters, closer, with Merkel and President Xi Jinping renewing their support for open markets in a phone call on Thursday, hours before she traveled to Washington.
Trump’s complaint on trade reflects comments by the head of his National Trade Council, Peter Navarro, who has denounced Germany’s trade surplus, accusing Europe’s biggest economy of exploiting its position within the euro area to gain advantage. He was among those in the audience for the news conference. Merkel and her government have rejected those accusations as absurd.
“I don’t believe in an isolationist policy, but I also believe that a policy of trade should be a fair policy,” Trump said Friday.
While standing her ground with the U.S. president, Merkel is touting a trade accord between the EU and Canada that European lawmakers backed in February as an example of the power of open markets. Europe “must never retreat, wall itself off or withdraw,” she said in a speech to parliament in Berlin on March 9.
Talks on an EU-Japan accord began in 2013 with the goal of lowering barriers to trade and investment on both sides. Japan and the EU jointly account for more than a third of global economic output, according to European Commission data.
Germany is ready to “be the motor” for completing the deal as a signal that “we want free, open markets,” Merkel said Sunday.
→ Bloomberg. 2017-03-20. Germany Trades Barbs With Trump on Defense After Merkel Meeting
– Trump says Germany owes vast amounts for U.S. defense spending
– Germany rebuffs Trump over meeting NATO funding commitments
Germany and U.S. traded barbs over the weekend about defense spending following an awkward first meeting between President Donald Trump and Chancellor Angela Merkel.
German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen on Sunday rebuffed Trump over her country’s commitment to meeting NATO funding commitments after the U.S. president posted on Twitter Saturday that “Germany owes vast sums of money to NATO & the United States must be paid more for the powerful, and very expensive, defense it provides to Germany!”
“There is no debit account in NATO,” von der Leyen countered in her statement, arguing that the spending goal for NATO members includes other activities beyond the defense alliance. “We all want fair burden-sharing and that requires a modern concept of security.”
The president wrote that he’d had a “GREAT meeting with” Merkel, brushing off what he termed “fake” reports suggesting otherwise. The exchanges come after Merkel, at a joint White House press conference on Friday, appeared to tweak the president about his criticisms of her and others on social media and elsewhere, including an interview in January calling Germany’s open-border refugee policy a “catastrophic mistake.”
“In the period leading up to this visit, I’ve always said it’s much, much better to talk to one another and not about one another, and I think our conversation proved this,” the German leader said through a translator.
Trump on Friday said he had “reiterated to Chancellor Merkel my strong support for NATO, as well as the need for our NATO allies to pay their fair share for the cost of defense.” He said “many nations owe vast sums of money from past years and it is very unfair to the United States.”
Trump isn’t the first U.S. leader to complain that most NATO nations, including Germany, weren’t meeting the alliance’s goal that members spend 2 percent of their GDP on defense. Germany spends about 1.2 percent on defense now.
President Barack Obama in 2016 said in an interview with The Atlantic about his foreign policy doctrine that “free riders aggravate me.” Sigmar Gabriel, Germany’s foreign minister, said a few weeks ago said that meeting the 2 percent goal is “unrealistic,” although that’s a much lower percentage than the U.S. spends on defense.
Friday’s visit by Merkel, postponed from earlier in the week by a snowstorm, was a day of tense cordiality and sometimes awkward body language. Trump was unresponsive when Merkel leaned in for a handshake in the Oval Office at the request of photographers.
There were few public attempts at the jocularity leaders often use to leaven such encounters, except for a barbed reference Trump made that they had “in common, perhaps” the experience of surveillance by U.S. intelligence.
The visit was a test of Trump’s foreign policy vision as he welcomed a leader who not only represents Europe’s biggest economy, but has emerged as the most visible advocate of the post-World War II international order. The new U.S. president, a political novice before the 2016 campaign, had his first face-to-face talks with a veteran German leader whom he frequently maligned on the campaign trail, and whose free-trade, open-border politics stand in marked contrast to Trump’s nationalistic rhetoric.
“He’s been president less than two months; she has been chancellor more than 10 years,” said Richard Haass, president of the Council on Foreign Relations. “She has all this experience. She’s the most important leader in Europe. Some would say she’s the most important leader in the world right now.”
‘We Want Fairness’
The two clashed on trade on Friday. “The negotiators for Germany have done a far better job than the negotiators for the United States,” Trump said. “But hopefully we can even it out. We don’t want victory; we want fairness.”
Merkel subtly corrected the U.S. president. “When we talk about trade talks, the European Union negotiates for all of the member states in the European Union,” she said. “In this spirit, I would be very happy if the European Union and the U.S. can take up talks again.”
Trump bristled at a German reporter’s question about his unsubstantiated accusations that Obama had placed him under surveillance before making the reference to a disclosure, made during the Obama administration, that the U.S. was intercepting Merkel’s mobile phone communications. Turning to Merkel, he joked, “At least we both have something in common, perhaps.” Merkel didn’t smile.
Merkel was looking to Trump — who has said he wants to reset his relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin — to ease concerns within Europe that the U.S. could abandon efforts to pressure Moscow into changing course. Merkel has struck a hard line over incursions into Ukraine and the Kremlin’s support for Syrian dictator Bashar al Assad.
Trump suggested before he took office that the U.S. might not come to the defense of allies who didn’t meet the 2 percent spending goal, and said the coalition doesn’t always best serve American interests. But U.S. officials have publicly praised the alliance since Trump took office, and Merkel is among European leaders who have outlined steps to boost defense spending to the target level.
→ Deutsche Welle. 2017-03-20. Opinion: The G20’s dilemma
The G20 has failed to agree a joint position on free trade at the Baden-Baden summit. This is a harbinger of how difficult it may be to strike international agreements with the US going forward, says Henrik Böhme.
This was not the outcome German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble had envisaged. At the start of the G20 finance ministers’ meeting in his homeland of Baden, the host of the summit was still convinced that a common policy could be agreed with the United States. A profession of the G20 countries’ support for free trade and opposition to protectionist measures was supposed to appear in the final declaration, as it always does after meetings like this. However, the minister failed to wring a compromise out of his American counterpart Steven Mnuchin. All they were able to agree on was a weak statement that they were “working to strengthen the contribution of trade to our economies.” A mere platitude.
Is a trade war on the horizon?
At least Baden-Baden has made one thing clear: The new team in the White House apparently means business. US President Donald Trump said it outright at his meeting with Chancellor Angela Merkel: “The negotiators for Germany have done a far better job than the negotiators for the United States.” Americans must become more successful at this, he chided. Baden-Baden gave us a taste of what this meant. Not even Wolfgang Schäuble, a highly experienced political strategist, could break through the American blockade.
Describing the finance ministers’ summit as a failure would not, however, be a fair assessment. Meetings like this are often informal in character; the concluding documents are not legally binding, but rather a kind of template for the ongoing work of the G20 states. And even if in the preceding years they had always promised each other that they would promote free trade and reduce trade barriers, the trend towards protectionism has actually been apparent for some time. Since 2008 the World Trade Organization (WTO) has counted well over 2,000 measures restricting trade. Given that the G20 countries represent 80 percent of trade worldwide, it’s obvious that they aren’t keeping their promises.
What about Africa?
The argument about trade policy also overshadowed some very positive developments the G20 was able to present. Good progress has been made, for example, by those working on fiscal transparency, or the taxation of big international corporations, and the Americans were also involved in that. Then there’s Schäuble’s new Africa plan: more security for private investors to encourage them to set aside their reservations about committing to projects on the African continent. General agreement here, too, although this initiative is by no means a major coup.
At the end of the two days, though, no one was interested in any of this. The only question asked, again and again, was: Are we heading for a trade war?
t’s not a concern to be dismissed. When Trump’s trade adviser describes Germany’s trade deficit (too many exports, too few imports) as a “threat to national security;” when the American negotiators are already getting out the “big guns” on trade issues in the preliminary talks for Baden-Baden, then yes, there are reasons to be worried. The criticism of Germany is not new; it was made by Trump’s predecessors George W. Bush and Barack Obama, too, and is also regularly heard in Brussels. The German answer is always the same: Are we supposed to make worse products that no one wants to buy?
No grounds for optimism?
A reminder that it is the EU that is responsible for trade policy will not wash with the White House. When the United States imposes the first punitive duties on German exports, it will not have to wait long for a reaction from Berlin. In the past few days, the German minister of the economy, Brigitte Zypries, has been speculating about the possibility of lodging a complaint with the WTO. That would really put the wind up the administration in Washington. Donald Trump’s only interest in the WTO is in what it can do for him. For some time now the US government has already been looking into how it can bypass the WTO and impose sanctions.
The 20 countries’ pronouncements on exchange rate policy do offer hope that a trade war is not inevitable: No manipulation of the exchange rate to favor national economies.
That does provide a little reason for optimism, after some criticism from across the Atlantic with regard to the “weak euro.”
Baden-Baden, then, was a foretaste of meetings to come. It’s hard to imagine that things are likely to go smoothly at the big G20 summit in Hamburg in early July: There will be considerably more controversial issues on the agenda there than on the finance ministers’ much more manageable list.