Angela Merkel and Joe Biden fail to find common language on Ukraine

Germany and the United States will never be friends again

Angela Merkel and Joe Biden remain "friends with disagreements on the Nord Stream 2 project. At the same time, Germany does not accept the path of confrontation with Russia and China.

Nord Stream 2 is not the only apple of discord for Germany and USA

The leaders of Germany and the United States, after the meeting in Washington on July 15, indicated that the United States and Germany had disagreements over Nord Stream 2, but they were unanimous that Ukraine should retain its gas transit status.

The attempt to reduce all disagreements to Nord Stream 2 failed. The strategic gaps between Germany and the United States are much broader.

The United States is annoyed about the fact that Germany, having a budget surplus, does not fulfill its financial obligations to finance NATO in the amount of 2% of GDP. The Americans are also outraged by Germany's attitude towards Russia a partner with which Germany is more than willing to conduct a dialogue.

What is more, the United States is not happy that China has been Germany's main trading partner for the past five years, whereas the Pentagon sees China as USA's prime enemy.

"Over the decades since, the German government morphed into a Germany-First economic machine that moved away from the West as it sought more money and trade with anyone and everyone," former US Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell wrote for FoxNews.

Germany is moving towards "a Swiss-style neutrality": "The next Chancellor of Germany will need to decide if Germany is with the West or if it will pursue the singular economic path where you pretend every country is morally equal," he noted.

"Astonishingly, some of the current candidates have indicted that they do not want to have to chose between America and China; the Communist Chinese are very happy to hear it," the former ambassador said.

The next chancellor will continue the line of Merkel

However, whoever becomes Germany's new chancellor in the fall after the elections to the Bundestag, Germany's foreign policy is unlikely to change much. USA's foreign policy did not change with the arrival of Joe Biden either, even though he was an ardent critic of his predecessor, Donald Trump. An objective combination of many factors will not allow this to happen.

Merkel has repeatedly stressed that there is no Europe without Russia, that a direct dialogue with Russia must be maintained at all costs. She proposed holding an EU-Russia summit, which had not been held since the time of the Crimean referendum.

Berlin clearly adheres to the position that Nord Stream 2 is beneficial to Germany from the point of view of economy. At the same time, Berlin is ready to support the political issue of natural gas transit through Ukraine. This agenda will also remain unchanged, because no German leader will act to the detriment of their producers promoting expensive and unreliable US-made liquified natural gas.

Will Ukraine remain a transit country for Russian gas?

As for the wish of the United States and Germany to keep Ukraine as a transit country for Russian natural gas, this is largely a feigned, politically biased question:

both the USA and Ukraine are waiting for Biden to say something on the matter;
Germany understands that one needs to negotiate this issue with Russia, even though the talks are not going to come easy.

According to Merkel, Germany and the European Commission have made efforts to conclude a gas transit agreement between Russia and Ukraine until 2024 based on the assumption that it would be extended. If this does not happen, Berlin will be "active" in the confrontation with the Russian Federation.

However, Vladimir Putin said a number of times before that the conclusion of a new transit agreement after 2024 could be possible if Ukraine could offer "attractive terms." Obviously, the current terms are not attractive at all.

In addition, the Americans violated the package deal, which was concluded between Russia, Germany and Ukraine in late 2019: Washington imposed sanctions and thus created difficulties to complete the construction of Nord Stream 2.

Deputy General Director for Gas Issues at the National Energy Security Fund, Alexey Grivach, believes that in order for Ukraine to remain a transit country, Germany needs to persuade Kiev to "establish market positions for transportation" and take measures to ensure that gas market participants in Europe have incentives to purchase large volumes of natural gas from Russia.

"In thiы case, the Ukrainian transit will be in demand after 2024, perhaps, even in significant volumes," Alexey Grivach told Pravda. Ru.

According to the expert, in order to prolong the transit agreement, Ukraine must abandon its boorish behavior.

"Ukraine is at war with Russia, Kiev officially calls Russia an aggressor state, but as the same time Kiev wants to get money in unreasonably high amounts for natural gas transit,” said Alexey Grivach.

"Gas transportation through Nord Stream and Nord Stream 2 is about 2.5 times cheaper than transit through Ukraine. The question is: why should it cost 2.5 times higher? One should take into consideration the fact that gas pipelines through Ukraine were built 30-40 years ago by the Soviet Union. They require costly maintenance that Ukraine does not provide. Ukraine does no suffer any losses if it loses gas transit, because Ukraine has not built anything nor has it invested anything to support it," the expert added.

No one in the United States knows how to force Europe to cut gas purchases from Russia

Quite possibly, Ukraine will remain a gas transit country, just the volume of gas transit will decline. Ukrainian Russophobes will not be allowed to make big money on Russia. If Germany and the United States are ready to pay for gas from the Russian border, then one could transit gas via Ukraine, and let them cover all the costs accordingly.

The USA will never end the political squabble over the Russian gas because it is an instrument of pressure on both Germany and Russia. Washington takes this as an opportunity to set Germany against Russia. The problem that the United States is dealing with here is that the EU has a major competitor for the purchase of Russian gas — Southeast Asia. Prices on any gas in Asia are still about 20-30% higher than for Europe. Thus, no one in the United States knows how to force Europe to cut gas purchases from Russia.

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Author`s name Lyuba Lulko
Editor Dmitry Sudakov