Forget UK and US, Merkel tells Europe
German Chancellor Angela Merkel says continental Europe has to find its own path forward, as the UK and US were no longer reliable partners.
“The times when we could fully rely on others have passed us by a little bit, that’s what I’ve experienced in recent days,” Merkel told a campaign rally in Munich.
During the G7 meeting in Sicily the world’s largest democratic powers divided “six against one” on the man-made threat posed by global warming.
Donald Trump, who has called global-warming a hoax perpetrated by the Chinese, refused to back the 2015 Paris Agreement’s aims to cut greenhouse gas emissions to limit the rise in global temperatures.
Merkel said the “six against one” talks were “very difficult, if not to say very unsatisfactory”. Trump triumphantly tweeted: “Just returned from Europe. Trip was a great success for America. Hard work but big results!”
Trump reportedly described German trade practices as “bad, very bad”, during talks in Brussels, and complained that Germany, Europe’s largest economy, sold too many vehicles in the US.
Merkel appeared deflated by the dealings with Trump, who she did not mention by name.
“For that reason, I can only say: we Europeans really have to take our fates in our own hands,” Merkel said. There must be a spirit of friendship with the US and Britain, she said, “but we have to wage our own fight for our future, as Europeans, for our fate”.
Polling suggests Merkel, in power since 2005, is on course to be re-elected for a fourth term.
The G7 leaders did vow to fight protectionism, voicing “a commitment to keep our markets open” and said they would to step up pressure on North Korea, cooperate more closely on terror and consider tougher sanctions on Russia.
Rather pointedly, Merkel hosted Trump’s predecessor Barack Obama on the same day that she met Trump last week.
The chancellor and Obama attend a discussion on democracy in Berlin where he lavished her with praise hours before she met Trump.
Merkel clearly enjoys a contrasting relationship with the two contrasting men. Obama hailed her “outstanding work” in the country and around the world.
The pair exchanged smiles and laughter during their 90-minute appearance before 70,000 people at the Brandenburg Gate, who cheered the former president.
Obama’s last phone call before leaving the Oval Office in January was with Merkel.
An uneasy relationship. Picture credit: Wikimedia