Germans view U.S. as most important ally again thanks to Biden

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BERLIN (Reuters) – Relations between Germany and the United States have improved substantially following the election of U.S. President Joe Biden, with Germans viewing Washington as their most important ally again, a survey showed on Monday.

The poll of more than 1,100 Germans, conducted by Kantar Public for the Koerber Foundation in September and October, also revealed that for the first time in many years, a majority sees China’s growing influence on the world stage as negative.

Under outgoing Chancellor Angela Merkel, Germany has benefited from strong business ties with China. But officials are becoming increasingly uneasy about a growing dependency on the world’s second-largest economy.

Asked about Germany’s relations with the United States, 71% said they viewed transatlantic ties as good or very good, according to “The Berlin Pulse” survey.

This marked a surge from the previous year’s 18% when Donald Trump was still president.

The United States was described as Germany’s most important ally by 44% in the survey, followed by France with 27%.

Germans would like to see closer cooperation with the United States on the world stage especially in security and defence (73%), free trade (64%) and human rights (63%).

“It is encouraging to see that the Trump years have not caused an irreversible alienation between Germans and Americans,” said Nora Mueller, foreign policy expert at the Koerber Foundation.

“However, it remains to be seen whether the positive trend will continue, not least because a number of transatlantic issues are still unresolved,” Mueller added.

For the first time since 2017, a majority of 55% viewed China’s growing influence as negative, the survey showed.

Compared to Russia, China was seen as a bigger threat for the values of Germany’s democratic order and its social-market economy.

(Reporting by Michael Nienaber, editing by Nick Macfie)