Merkel Envoy Expects `More Intense' Trump Talks After Midterms

(Bloomberg) -- German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s trans-Atlantic envoy is bracing for “more intense” talks with President Donald Trump’s administration over trade, defense and Iran after the U.S. leader claimed vindication for his hard-line approach following the midterm elections.

Peter Beyer, the government’s coordinator for German-U.S. relations, told Bloomberg Television that the Republicans’ strengthened hold on the Senate has significant implications for relations with Germany and the European Union. Republicans are on track to expand their majority in the U.S. upper house.

“Donald Trump obviously seems to have gotten the endorsement of his politics,” Beyer said, citing the Senate gains. “It’s going to be tougher” to find common ground on a “broad range of topics that are on the table,” he added.

Trump’s threats of tariffs on German auto imports, his demand that Merkel boost defense spending and his accusation that the government in Berlin is sending “billions” to Russia for gas imports have rattled U.S.-German relations. Beyer predicted that the mid-terms, which Trump called a “tremendous success,” will reinforce Trump’s positions.

The envoy has previously cited German companies’ “deep concern” over looming U.S. sanctions on the country’s Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline project with Russia, which he has said could come in the next weeks or months.

Beyer is a lawmaker with the ruling Christian Democratic Union, which will select a new leader in December after Merkel announced this month that she’ll cede the top party job. She has said she plans to stay on as chancellor until 2021 at the latest and Beyer said she’ll be more focused on global issues and won’t have a weakened hand.

“She is needed in Germany, but also in Europe, as a strong political leader,” Beyer said.

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