WATCH | President Trump and Angela Merkel differ on immigration but that doesn't mean their meeting won't be productive.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel is coming to the White House Friday for her first face-to-face meeting with President Trump, and the big question is whether Trump's "America First" policy will clash with Merkel's support of globalization and supranational organizations.
When telling the tale of these two countries, the leadership may seem worlds apart. Take Syrian refugees. Trump’s America First policies prioritize national security and take a tough stance on immigration. Meanwhile, German Chancellor Angela Merkel has a more welcoming approach.
In 2015, more than a million people sought asylum in Germany-- at the same time the US took in just over 45,000.
“In the United States our policy is we vet people in the region before we let them come to the United States," said Dr. James Carafano of the Heritage Foundation. "They've kind of taken a flood of refugees in and then tried to sort them while they're there.”
Merkel has also expressed support for NATO--a policy Trump bashed on the campaign trail but has recently begun to embrace. And Merkel’s economic policies rely on the strength of the European Union and regional trade deals while Trump promises bi-lateral deals and rolling back regional trade agreements.
But they both share common concerns of terrorism. Germany was recently the target of several terrorist attacks in 2016, including an incident at a Christmas market in Berlin in December. The US suffered from attacks in Orlando and San Bernardino.
“Both the US and Germany have of course a big concern about national security and both governments in both countries are taking steps to address these national security concerns," Victoria Rietig, a Senior Migration Fellow at AICGS, a German- US relations think tank, told Circa.
Despite the two leaders’ different approaches on immigration, there will be a lot to discuss on the issue.
“Both Germany and the US are the main destination for new migrants on their respective continents. Both are integrating hundreds of thousands of people every year," Rietig said. "Our policy responses have been some have been different. But just because you disagree on the policies doesn’t mean that you couldn’t learn from the processes of the other.”
According to senior Trump administration officials, the meeting doesn’t have any firm deliverables, but aims to establish a strong relationship between the two leaders who have disagreed in the past, but must work to find common ground in the future.