German chancellor welcomes Biden’s pledge to further strengthen transatlantic ties, slams Russia’s policy toward Europe.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Friday called for a common transatlantic strategy toward world powers Russia and China, describing this as a major task ahead.
Addressing the virtual Munich Security Conference along with US President Joe Biden and French President Emmanuel Macron, Merkel sharply criticized Russia for violating the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine, and accused Moscow of using “hybrid” warfare tools against EU member states.
“It is very important for us to develop a common transatlantic agenda toward Russia. On the one hand, of course we should offer cooperation. But on the other hand we must be clear about the differences we have,” she said.
Merkel added that she shared the view of Biden that Russia has been working to destabilize the European Union.
Her strong remarks came amid growing tensions between the EU and Russia, following the imprisonment of opposition figure Alexey Navalny.
The German chancellor described China as another important challenge for Europe and the US, and argued that the transatlantic partners should also develop a common strategy toward this country.
“On the one hand, China is a systemic competitor. On the other hand we need China to solve global problems,” Merkel said.
“In recent years, China has gained more power on the international stage, and we as a transatlantic Alliance and as democratic countries need to address this,” she added.
Merkel said she is aware that Europeans and the US might have different opinions on several issues with regards to Russia and China, but insisted that the transatlantic partners must define strategic challenges together.
“Our interests will not always converge, I do not have any illusions. Where there are differences we should openly talk about them. But we have a broad, common, good basis, in terms of our shared values, our belief in democracy,” she said.