Monday, November 29

Munich Security Conference: Merkel and Macron urge to join forces with Washington on climate change and digital market | International

Joe Biden, Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron during their virtual speech this Friday at the Munich Security Conference.
Joe Biden, Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron during their virtual speech this Friday at the Munich Security Conference.MSC/Mueller / HANDOUT / EFE

Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron urged this Friday at the Munich Security Conference to revitalize the transatlantic relationship. Following the speech by the President of the United States, Joe Biden, the German Chancellor and the French President used their videoconference interventions at the annual security forum to highlight the opportunity to open a new stage in the relationship between Europe and the United States. The president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, has stressed that Washington and Brussels must join forces to work against climate change, regulate the digital market and limit the power of large technology companies – a point on which Macron has also influenced -.

The Franco-German axis has also shown its commitment to NATO. Merkel has pointed out that Germany is moving towards the defense spending target of 2% of GDP agreed by the partners in 2014. “I do believe in NATO,” said Macron, who cast doubts at the end of 2019 by saying that the Atlantic Alliance he was in a “brain coma.” Even so, the German Chancellor and the French President have also advocated strengthening defense cooperation between EU partners. Merkel has argued that community initiatives are intended to “complement” the Alliance, not erode it. “It is time to take on a greater burden of our protection. The EU and its key members have to be part of the solution for their own security ”, declared Macron, who for years has advocated that the EU have its own military instrument. The Secretary General of NATO, for his part, has warned that the challenges that China and Russia pose to the international order can only be addressed if the US, NATO and the EU work together. “We now have a historic opportunity to build a stronger alliance. To regain confidence and strengthen our unity ”, said Norwegian Jens Stoltenberg.

In what was her last participation as Chancellor at the Munich Security Conference, Merkel stressed that “multilateralism is the basis” of her decisions. “Germany is ready for a new chapter in transatlantic relations,” said the head of the German Government, who also praised the “new disposition” of her partner in the White House. The chancellor added that the US and the EU must draw a “common agenda” against China and Russia. “Only together can we face major challenges such as climate change or the pandemic,” added Merkel. Macron, for his part, has emphasized that “multilateralism must be effective in fighting climate change, preserving our democracies and defending freedom of expression.” “For globalization to succeed, we must be able to reduce inequalities with our neighbors,” added the French president.

Von der Leyen has celebrated in his speech that “the United States has returned and is more committed than ever.” The president of the Commission has advocated for putting an end to big technology: “We cannot leave decisions that have a great impact on our democracies in the hands of computer programs without human supervision or in Silicon Valley offices.” And Charles Michel, President of the European Council, has urged that the transatlantic relationship “be the driving force for a better world.”

The British Prime Minister was the last to intervene. After confirming his presence at the conference last Wednesday, Boris Johnson highlighted his “unconditional” commitment to European security and stressed that the United Kingdom will soon be the second largest contributor to NATO, after the United States. premier, which Biden called “a clone of [Donald] Trump ”and 2019, he has said that he will do everything possible to “keep the flame of global cooperation alive” and has praised that the US is once again “the leader of the free world.”

The meeting has been held in a virtual and express format – by videoconference and in less than four hours – and has not had representatives from China, Russia or the Middle East, an anomaly in the annual event in which they have met since 1963 some of the world’s leading leaders and experts in international security. The lackluster edition of this Friday has also not had bilateral meetings or snipers in charge of protecting the Bayerischer Hof hotel from its roof, common every February in the Bavarian capital.

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