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German Chancellor Angela Merkel to meet with NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg


German Chancellor Angela Merkel to meet with NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg

Photo: European Council

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg will today call upon German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin, joining the informal meeting of EU defence ministers ahead of their official summit in November.

Stoltenberg and Merkel are expected to detail broad strategic cooperation over the thorny issues of growing Russian influence in the Baltic states, protests in Belarus and Turkey’s increasingly aggressive regional behaviour. Turkey has proven especially cumbersome to regional security; despite its NATO membership, Ankara has acquired Russian defence systems, blocked NATO’s eastern defence plans and sparked a territorial row with Greece in the Eastern Mediterranean.

Washington’s gradual extrication from NATO has ramped up pressure on Germany to mediate conflicts arising from such belligerence. Merkel and Stoltenberg may pursue sanctions against Ankara, given the precedent set by EU sanctions against Russia and Belarus for similar transgressions, but have also expressed a willingness to engage in conditional dialogue if Turkey acquiesces.

As the future of the Turkey-EU migration deal is on the line and Berlin has sunk extensive investments into Turkey, discreet diplomacy will likely be preferred despite its current lack of effectiveness. Germany is also internally torn over thawing relations with Russia—building the Nord Stream 2 pipeline impedes Merkel’s credibility to enforce further sanctions—and is therefore unlikely to pursue any categorical action.

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