During her 11 years in office, German Chancellor Angela Merkel showed extraordinary skill in solving the most difficult problems posed by the most unpredictable leaders in the world. But she never met such a problem as Donald Trump, the newspaper The New York Times noted.
Trump and Merkel, who radically differed in temperaments, outlook, leadership style and vision of Europe, reached a "breakthrough" during their brief meeting in Hamburg on Thursday evening. "They shook hands," the New York Times said sarcastically.
During the 40-minute conversation, the leaders "touched" lightly on hot topics such as climate change, trade problems, and also went on "burning foreign policy issues" over North Korea, Ukraine and the Middle East, "Merkel's press office said.
Sources close to the two most influential Western leaders noted that the main goal of the meeting was "brevity" and "friendliness." However, disagreements, especially since Trump last month led the US out of the Paris agreement on climate, are unavoidable. The best that Merkel invented was to establish a "channel" through the daughter of President Ivanka, who, however, tried unsuccessfully to convince her father to remain in the Paris Agreement.
For Angela, Merkel is preparing for re-election in the fall, so the challenge in the person of Trump has become extremely important for her and German politics. So she has to raise uncomfortable questions with him, in particular, to question his commitment to the leading role of the US, which the Europeans have taken for granted since the Second World War.
"Merkel is trying hard to understand how to work with Trump, but this is not easy for her," Der Spiegel editor-in-chief Klaus Brinkbumer told the publication.
"She invited the daughter of American President Ivanka to a conference in Berlin earlier this year. But it seems that even this does not work. German diplomats still do not know with whom to work in the State Department on serious issues, "the source said.