'Convinced Atlanticist' Merkel being honest with USA, spokesman says

Claudine Rigal
Mai 29, 2017

"All I can say is that we Europeans must really take our destiny into our own hands".

U.S. President Donald Trump and German Chancellor Angela Merkel pose during a family phto at the Greek Theatre during a G7 summit in Taormina, Sicily, Italy, May 26, 2017.

Britain said on Monday it would be a "strong partner" to Germany in response to comments by German Chancellor Angela Merkel about the United Kingdom and the U.S. no longer being reliable allies.

France is Germany's second-biggest trading partner and the presidential election victory of the pro-European centrist reformer Macron over far-right protectionist rival Marine Le Pen in early May has sparked hopes that Berlin will ally with Paris in spearheading a broad-based economic revival in Europe.

Gabriel said Monday that "anyone who accelerates climate change by weakening environmental protection, who sells more weapons in conflict zones and who does not want to politically resolve religious conflicts is putting peace in Europe at risk".

She made those comments, which sent shock waves through Washington, after Trump criticized major North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies over their military spending and refused to endorse a global climate change accord at back-to-back summits last week.

And Vice Chancellor and Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel, also a Social Democrat, said Monday that if the Trump administration "finds pushing through national interests more important than an global order. then I say that the West has become smaller - it has at least become weaker".

"It became clear at the G7, when there was no agreement with the US, how long and rocky this path would be", Merkel said at a conference on sustainable development.

Merkel did not mention by name U.S. President Donald Trump, who criticized major North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies and refused to endorse a global climate change accord, but she told a packed beer tent in Munich that the days when Europe could completely count on others were "over to a certain extent". In Germany, Modi will look to resume conversation on a stalled free trade agreement between India and the European Union at a time where countries like the USA are turning increasingly protectionist in their economic policies.

"I have experienced this in the last few days", she said. "But we must know, we have to fight for our own future", she said.

Merkel's remarks, made to her Christian Democrat party's Bavarian allies, were particularly striking as the chancellor, a fan of the United States as a teenager in Communist East Germany, has always been known as a resolute Atlanticist.

"We can reassure Mrs. Merkel that we want to have a deep and special partnership so that we can continue to maintain European-wide security to keep us all safe from the terrorists overseas and those that are trying to be nurtured in our country". "She's not looking to push Britain or the United States away - she is looking to strengthen Europe".

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