Economy Minister Peter Altmaier said on arrival in Washington ahead of talks with Biden administration officials that he was “optimistic” that US-German diplomacy would provide “solutions” from here August.
In an interview with German public radio station Deutschlandfunk, Altmaier argued that it was “too simple” to portray Germany as the sole staunch supporter of the controversial gas pipeline project to bring gas from Russia to the north of l ‘Germany.
“It’s not about a project, it’s about achieving certain goals,” said Altmaier. “It’s about avoiding interdependencies; it is a question of ensuring the supply of energy; it is about taking into account and taking into account the vital interests of Ukraine and of the other neighbors of Germany and Russia.
“When all of these aspects come together, compromise solutions are possible,” Altmaier said, adding that Germany and the United States were now talking intensely and directly, instead of “talking to each other” as under the Trump administration.
Economy Minister Altmaier, whose portfolio is more focused on business and commerce than that of the Minister of Finance, left for Washington on Wednesday.
US and Blinken remain skeptical of ‘Russian geopolitical project’
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said during his visit to Berlin on Wednesday: “We continue to believe that the pipeline is ultimately a Russian geopolitical project that threatens European energy security and potentially undermines Ukraine’s security. and other countries in the region.
Eastern European countries in particular have reservations about the project, which threatens the transit charges they collect for gas transported on their territory.
German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said a scheduled visit by Chancellor Angela Merkel to the United States in July would be a good time to clarify the issues.
Merkel, who is nearing the end of her four-term chancellor, had bilateral talks with President Biden earlier this month at the G7 summit in Britain.
“We all agree that we want this problem resolved by August,” said Altmaier, who was also due to meet with US Trade Representative Katherine Tai and Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm.
Climate talks and Kerry meeting also on the agenda
Referring to the punitive Trump-era import tariffs imposed on European steel in 2018, Altmaier said coordinated transatlantic strategies are needed.
The United States and Europe, as advocates of climate neutrality, must coordinate so that their “key sectors such as steel and chemicals” do not relocate to other countries “where environmental rules are more lax and less climate friendly ”.
“This is in the interests of both Europeans and Americans,” Altmaier argued.
Altmaier was scheduled to meet with US President Joe Biden’s climate envoy John Kerry on Thursday.
Yet during a parliamentary debate in the Bundestag, opposition Greens economics expert Katharina Dröge accused Altmaier of hampering climate neutrality efforts.
“Time and again at European level he has blocked sustainable trade policies and strong climate and social standards in trade agreements,” Dröge said.
ipj / msh (dpa, Reuters, AFP)