Biden win would bring relief but few fixes, says Merkel ally

FILE PHOTO: Peter Beyer, Coordinator of Transatlantic Cooperation in the Field of Intersocietal Relations, Cultural and Information Policy for the German government speaks during an interview with Reuters in Berlin

BERLIN (Reuters) – A sigh of relief would go around the world if Democratic challenger Joe Biden wins the U.S. presidency but Berlin would still face many of the same policy problems with Washington, Germany’s coordinator for transatlantic ties said on Friday.

Peter Beyer, a member of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative Christian Democrats, said Biden would offer a more collaborative tone than U.S. President Donald Trump who has called Germany’s trade and spending policies “very bad”.

Trump trails Biden in polls ahead of the Nov. 3 vote.

“A big sigh of relief would go around the planet if Joe Biden wins,” Beyer told Reuters.

“Would it help? I don’t think so because (from) what we’ve heard from Joe Biden … we will see that many of the existing transatlantic topics will remain, such as Nord Stream 2, energy security, economic issues,” he added.

Trump has attacked Berlin for supporting the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline spanning the Baltic Sea, accusing Germany of being a “captive” of Russia due to reliance on its energy.

“We would be well advised to expect a president Joe Biden to be much more collaborative, he would be much friendlier in tone, but many of the issues will remain on the table, some would be much easier to address, others would be tough,” Beyer said.

“One of his top priorities would be healing the wounds of his own country. There’s a lot to do.”

Trump has also accused Germany of taking advantage of the United States while not meeting financial obligations to NATO, the military organization he once called obsolete to the chagrin of shocked allies.

Defence Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer said Germany was looking forward to more clarity in U.S. foreign policy.

“We are not in favour of a disruptive political style,” Kramp-Karrenbauer, another close ally of Merkel, said on Friday according to a pre-distributed text of her speech.

The U.S. military in July unveiled plans to withdraw about 12,000 troops from Germany.

(Additional reporting by Sabine Siebold; Writing by Paul Carrel; Editing by Andrew Cawthorne)

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