Merkel spokesman: Germany still seeking stronger US ties

Claudine Rigal
Mai 29, 2017

"I experienced that in the last a few days, and therefore I can only say that we Europeans must really take our fate into our own hands, of course in friendship with the United States and in friendship with Great Britain and as good neighbors wherever it is possible, also with Russian Federation and also with all the other countries", Merkel said.

She said the United Kingdom would remain a "strong partner" on trade and defence and, in the wake of the Manchester attack, said boosting security across the continent depended on close ties between the two countries.

Angela Merkel's spokesman has defended her comments at the weekend warning that Europe could no longer rely on the United States, saying a healthy transatlantic partnership depended on the German Chancellor's ability to be honest with her American counterpart.

"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", Gabriel said.

"But we need to know we must fight for our own future, as Europeans, for our destiny", she said.

Merkel, who has a doctorate in quantum chemistry, was clearly frustrated by the United States president's non-committal and told Germans at the rally: "The times in which we could completely depend on others are on the way out".

Merkel's comments Sunday came after a Group of Seven summit at which the Europeans couldn't reach agreement with Trump on climate change.

Despite the Trump administration's talk of an "America first" policy and ongoing criticism of Germany for its massive trade surplus, the leaders who met in Sicily did vow to fight protectionism, reiterating "a commitment to keep our markets open".

Merkel also emphasized the continued need for friendly relations with the US and others, and spokesman Steffen Seibert said Monday that the chancellor is "a convinced trans-Atlanticist". "They were clear and comprehensible".

Seibert added that Merkel is "a convinced trans-Atlanticist" but her recent remarks about the U.S. "Precisely because they are so important, it's right to name differences honestly".

Along with Obama, Merkel has been one of the most prominent voices from Western nations countering nationalist movements of the kind represented by the Brexit campaign and Trump's policies. For a man who once called North Atlantic Treaty Organisation "obsolete", his failure to reassure allies during the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation summit in Brussels went down badly across Europe.

Then at the G7 summit on Friday and Saturday, leaders including Merkel failed to convince Trump to commit to stay in the Paris climate deal.

Turning to France, Merkel said she wished President Emmanuel Macron success, adding to applause: "Where Germany can help, Germany will help, because Germany can only do well if Europe is doing well".

"It's not a choice against the U.S., she's still engaging as a powerful European leader and she is someone whose voice who will be heard around the table".

Merkel, who did not mention Trump by name, also spoke of Britain's decision to leave the European Union, which means the bloc will lose its second-largest economy and one of its two nuclear powers. "She's not looking to push Britain or the USA away - she is looking to strengthen Europe".

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