Merkel, Mexico and MERCOSUR
Over the last weekend, German Chancellor Angela Merkel visited various Latin American countries. She was greeted warmly, largely due to Latin America being currently “on the market” for alternatives to the United States and President Donald Trump. This shift has come in the face of the United States’ new protectionism stance.
Merkel stated she hoped for an early finish to a deal for a free-trade zone between Europe and mercosur, a South American free-trade bloc. This deal would create a free-trade zone with over a billion people in it. The deal had stalled, but the threat to Latin American economies from President Trump’s protectionism could be the impetus to the deal’s finalization.
Mexico’s president stated that his country recognized the political leadership position of Merkel as one that wasn’t restricted to Europe. Introductions given to Merkel throughout her trip ranged from “important leader” to “the most important politician in the world,” as reported by German news site Deutsche Welle.
Another German politician making headway this week was the defense minister, Ursula von der Leyen. She met with her French counterpart and discussed the smart use of money from a newly created pan-European defense fund. Germany and France are looking to be the motor behind a European defense union.
The U.S. election and Brexit have shown Europe that it must take more responsibility for its own security. Watch for this trend to accelerate as Germany rises and the U.S. falls.