"She's getting enormous pressure from German industry not to harm their interests," said Heather Conley, a Europe expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. "She has to start laying the political groundwork for this because it requires some sacrifice."
Merkel, like Obama, has ruled out military action to deter Putin from seizing more of Ukraine. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., who has urged Obama to send weapons to Ukraine's government, said he planned to tell Merkel during a private meeting that he was embarrassed but unsurprised by her country's failure of leadership.
"The leaders, they're being governed by the industrial complex of Germany," McCain said Thursday. "They might as well have them in the government. It's shameful."
A troubled EU-U.S. trade agreement, known as the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, is also on the agenda, as well as joint efforts to deal with climate change, Syria's civil war and nuclear negotiations with Iran, said Laura Magnuson of the White House's National Security Council.
But the German leader may also be bringing her concerns over U.S. spying programs — an issue that's continued to erode the U.S.-German relationship despite Obama's assurances that the National Security Agency would stop eavesdropping on Merkel's cellphone.
Merkel will also speak to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce on Friday, focusing on the fledgling trade agreement and U.S.-European economic ties.
Associated Press writers Bradley Klapper in Washington and Frank Jordans in Berlin contributed to this report.
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