TRANSATLANTIC RIFT

Europe’s Post-American Future

  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    • Chancellor Angela Merkel’s latest comment signals that the rift between Europe and Donald Trump’s America is now so wide that it risks upending the post-war world order.
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  • Facts

    Facts

    • US President Donald Trump met his European allies at a NATO summit in Brussels on Thursday and at a G7 summit in Sicily on Friday.
    • At the NATO meeting in Brussels on Thursday, Mr. Trump attacked the Germans for being “bad, very bad” because of their trade surplus with the US.
    • Mr. Trump also refused to endorse a communiqué at the G7 meeting in Italy that would have reaffirmed the commitment of the leading industrialized nations to the Paris climate agreement.
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    Audio

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So, Donald, about this climate deal... Picture source: Reuters

Chancellor Angela Merkel did not mention President Donald Trump or the United States by name, but her message was clear — the contentious G7 meeting in Italy has shown that Germany cannot depend on its most important ally anymore.

“The times in which we can fully rely on others are partially coming to an end, I’ve experienced that in the past few days,” Ms. Merkel told supporters at a campaign event in a packed beer tent in Munich on Sunday. “That’s why I can only say – we Europeans have to take our fate into our own hands.”

The chancellor’s speech, which was met with long applause from the 2,000-strong audience in Munich, echoed past statements she has made since Mr. Trump was elected US president. Back in January, Ms. Merkel said Europe’s fate is in its own hands, after the new US president criticized Germany, NATO and the European Union in an interview with German tabloid Bild Zeitung and the Times of London.

In her speech on Sunday, the chancellor emphasized the continued importance of strong ties with the United States as well as Britain, which is in the process of exiting the European Union. But Ms. Merkel’s repeated calls for Europe to strike a more independent course signals a significant readjustment in German thinking. Ms. Merkel leads the center-right Christian Democratic Union, historically the most pro-American political party in post-war Germany. The fact that she is calling for Europe to end its reliance on others, a not-so-subtle reference to the United States, points to a deepening rift with Washington.

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