Bavarian Seehofer meets with Putin in Moscow
French presidential candidate Marine Le Pen’s was not the only political figure to meet with Vladimir Putin, but the meeting between Bavarian governor Horst Seehofer has gone almost unreported outside German media.
Published: March 31, 2017, 10:20 am
Seehofer, who holds a powerful position in Germany as Angela Merkel’s main CSU coalition partner, visited Moscow on March 16th, together with a huge delegation of German political and business leaders.
Seehofer arrived with a 80 member delegation representing influential Bavarian groups, cultural representatives, journalists, industry and agriculture. Both industry and agriculture representatives are eager to see the end of sanctions against Russia.
There are more than 5 000 German firms in Russia that have to keep German share holders happy, and more than a quarter come from Bavaria. The volume of trade between Bavaria and Russia last year stood at €7.62 billion, while four years ago, before ant-Russian sanctions, it was estimated at €13.1 billion, almost double.
Bavaria is the largest and most economically successful state in Germany, and that does carry weight in Berlin.
Berlin approved the visit to Moscow, even though there are no differences in the positions of Seehofer and Merkel on a range of issues from refugee policy to anti-Russian sanctions.
Careful to adhere to diplomatic protocol during the meeting, Seehofer conveyed “especially warm greetings” from the German chancellor to the Russian president. Merkel herself will visit Putin in Moscow on 2 May, ahead of a future summit between US president Trump and Putin.
Without the support of Seehofer and Bavaria’s CSU, Merkel has no chance in German parliamentary elections scheduled for this September.
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