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20 March 2017, 08:06 | Terri Saunders
GETTYThe SPD Labour Minister has appealed to voters with a big unemployment promise
German Chancellor Angela Merkel's first face-to-face meeting with US President Donald Trump has been postponed due to a winter storm that threatens to shutdown Washington. "Merkel and Trump really are the polar opposite of each other on so many levels". German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who learned the power as well as the necessity of invisibility while growing up in what was then East Germany, has called it "grotesque and absurd" to suggest that any one person, "even with the greatest experience, can fix the situation for better or worse in Germany, Europe and the world, and certainly not a German chancellor".
"I'll hold my talks with President Donald Trump in this spirit".
Merkel faces a challenge in September's polls from the left in the form of the resurgent Social Democrats, and from the right-wing populist Alternative for Germany - one of the European parties energized by Trump's win in the United States.
Merkel, an 11-year veteran of global summitry sitting at the table with her third USA president, has prepared by poring over old comments and videos of the real estate magnate.
Across the Atlantic, Merkel had her fair share of hard talks with former US presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama.
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Trump's meeting with Merkel is seen as the most important meeting with a foreign leader since he took office in January.
Trump's top trade representative has openly complained about Germany's use of the euro to undercut USA brands. "They have met or spoken by phone more than 100 times". She is first and foremost a globalist.
Stephen Szabo, executive director of the Transatlantic Academy and a fellow at the German Marshall Fund of the United States, says Merkel is coming to the White House concerned that Trump "might get too soft with Russian Federation and will undermine the sanctions regime she put together after the invasion of Ukraine". Although she initially lacked a strategy to deal with the up to 1 million refugees and migrants who entered Germany in 2015-2016, she allowed them in because they needed safety. Their itinerary is set to include discussions on North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, the Islamic State group and Ukraine's conflict, all matters that require close cooperation between the USA and Germany, as well as a joint press conference. Though Trump has only a single-digit approval rating in Germany, her relationship with him is nonetheless crucial.
With Trump's "America first" economic leanings, his questioning of multilateral trade deals and enthusiastic endorsement of Britain's decision to leave the European Union, Merkel's main goal is expected to be to impress upon the president her view that a strong EU is also in Washington's strategic and economic interests.
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