“Superficially, one could argue that Romney and Merkel share the same economic interests,” says Josef Braml, Program Officer USA/Transatlantic Relations at the German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP) in Berlin.
But Romney may still face an uphill battle in winning the hearts and minds of Germans and their leader.
Romney didn’t help himself with his Europe trip earlier this month, facing criticism for the countries he chose to visit and a number of his remarks. Then there is his economic philosophy.
The German and American definitions of conservative diverge sharply. Being conservative in Germany does not automatically mean promoting deregulation. “In Germany, it is hardly imaginable to reduce the role of government in the way Romney/Ryan want to do it. The state and some regulation on the market play a bigger role in Europe,” says Mr. Braml.
Merkel's politics are based on the social economic market, an economic model most political parties have followed since World War II. It's a compromise between social democracy and economic liberalism, combining private enterprise with government regulation to establish fair competition. “Extensive cuts in social benefits, like Paul Ryan’s proposal to privatize Medicare, are not part of her political vision,” says Henriette Rytz from the German Institute for International and Security Affairs in Berlin. Germans have questions about how a Romney-Ryan team would cut government spending while expanding the military budget. And experts raise concerns about more social cuts in a system that – compared to Germany – has little social security.