US President Donald Trump very much wanted to send a "great signal of normalization" in the US amid the COVID-19 pandemic. This signal should have been the June G7 summit in the White House. As noted by Germany's Tagesschau news program, the last few weeks saw Trump contrast the raging coronavirus with assurances that his country was swiftly recovering from this scourge. The President regularly calls on local authorities to ease restrictions they've imposed in American states. And all of this despite the still large number of COVID-19 infected people and those who died during the pandemic in the United States. Trump's critics claim that the thing is the country's severe unemployment growth, which, as Donald Trump fears, may prevent him from being re-elected for a new term.
Meanwhile, it is no secret that according to the latest data, it is Washington and the territories adjacent to the US capital that are most severely affected by the coronavirus, Frankfurter Rundschau writes. The German newspaper notes that the pandemic in the United States is not on the decline, and the total number of casualties accounts for over 100 thousand people. Thus, Trump's calls to "open America", even if by holding the G7 summit, are primarily aimed at getting the PR effect he needs. Before the end of last week, the US President was still able to keep hope up that he would manage to hold the summit. The only one to explicitly support him was British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, while France, Italy, Canada and Japan failed to give a clear-cut answer.
Donald Trump was unlikely expecting support from Germany, given that his personal relationship with German Chancellor Angela Merkel was by no means friendly. There is all the more reason for this as she has not made any foreign trips since the beginning of the pandemic. As a result, the situation with the White House summit has unfolded despite all the Trump's endeavors. And over the weekend, the German media was filled with headlines like "Merkel turns away from Trump" and "Trump is forced to postpone G7 summit until fall." Curiously, all of them inherently pointed out that an outcome to this effect was first reported by the American Politico magazine.
Another curious thing is that on its English-language website Politico refers to a certain phone conversation between Merkel and Trump that took place earlier last week, but the German media are harmoniously silent about it. Meanwhile, according to the American outlet, the telephone conversation between the leaders of the United States and Germany was marked by a "high-pitched argument", which particularly focused on the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline.
In contrast to the German observers, this moment was right away commented on by Russian experts. So, as the Sputnik Radio editorial board reported, leading analyst of the National Energy Security Fund Igor Yushkov believes that Germany may face a fuel shortage if the Nord Stream 2 launch is delayed. It is quite possible that Trump, who is often very undiplomatic, threatened Merkel with sanctions to German companies that will have to accept and work with natural gas from Russia in Germany. Such a thing could not cause anything but irritation with Merkel.
In any case, most German commentators have the feeling that their Mrs. Chancellor "defeated" the US President, and her already constantly growing popularity will keep rising. However, she reportedly "thanked Trump for the invitation." Many headlines are quite unambiguous: "Trump postpones summit after Merkel's denial." However, her official representative formulated Angela Merkel's refusal to fly to Washington in a highly diplomatic manner, highlighting difficulties over the COVID-19 pandemic. Naturally, everyone noticed Trump's desire to invite Russia, South Korea, Australia and India to the September G7 summit, with one of the key topics being the discussion of China's policy. The US President explains the need to expand G7 by its "outdated" format and vision of the real global situation.
However, it seems that the fate of Washington's plans for September will stay up in the air for several months, especially given that both the views of Germany and Russia on the policy of China are quite markedly different from Trump's attitude. A much more real thing is the imminent prospect of Germany's presidency in the Council of the European Union in the second half of 2020. Since this is one of the last major projects for Angela Merkel as German Chancellor, her late May video speech at the Konrad Adenauer Foundation allied to the CDU appears really important. She dedicated her speech to the foreign and security policy of the European Union, once again making it clear to everyone, including Donald Trump, that she is advocating the interests of both Germany and the whole of Europe.
Angela Merkel pointed out that to cope with the monumental pandemic-associated challenges, Europe needs "partners and allies". At the same time, the German leader expectedly noted that the United States is still their most important partner, despite the fact that cooperation with the United States is currently more difficult than what Europe would desire, on issues regarding climate change, trade policy and the role of international organizations during the pandemic. She has also stressed that Europe is not neutral, but is part of the political West and constantly protects its values around the world.