Merkel, minister stress US ties after critical Trump tweet

Cheryl Sanders
May 31, 2017

Modi, whose visit to Germany+ comes less than a week after Merkel provided the strongest indication yet that the European Union and the U.S. under President Trump were drifting apart, said India would play a positive role in boosting unity in the grouping.

In a February poll, 78 percent of Germans said they were "very concerned by Trump's policies", almost 20 percent more than were anxious about Putin's.

"Trump is right - in 2016 the US trade gap with Germany was $67.8 billion, the second largest in the world".

The Prime Minister, who spent several hours on Monday evening speaking to Chancellor Merkel at the official retreat of Schloss Meserberg outside Berlin, was accorded a ceremonial guard of honour at the German Chancery in Berlin on Tuesday morning.

Germany maintained a $69 billion trade surplus with the 2016 - reflecting $49.4 billion in US exports to Germany and $114.2 billion imports from Germany. "This will change", Trump tweeted on Tuesday.

Trump has vowed to decide this week whether to pull the U.S. out of the Paris framework on climate change but left his counterparts in the G7 with no idea of which way he was leaning.

Spicer gamely tried to deny the report, insisting that European Commission chairman Jean-Claude Juncker had confirmed that "Trump was not aggressive on German trade surplus". Merkel's Social Democratic predecessor, Gerhard Schroeder, publicly disavowed George W Bush's invasion of Iraq in a trans-Atlantic rift that Merkel worked to fix upon her election in 2005.

"The times when we could completely rely on others are, to an extent, over", Merkel said at a campaign event in Munich.

Europe "must take its fate into its own hands" faced with a western alliance divided by Brexit and Donald Trump's presidency, Merkel said.

She also stressed that "Europe must become a player active in global affairs".

German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel was even more blunt on Monday, slamming the U.S. president's "short-sighted" policies that have "weakened the West" and hurt European interests.

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 worldwide order. then I say that the West has become smaller - it has at least become weaker".

The comments come just days after Trump used a speech at North Atlantic Treaty Organisation to appeal that other members contribute more to defense spending. On climate change issue, the Prime Minister said that it would be a crime if nothing was done to protect and save the environment, as the future generation will have to depend on it.

The signing ceremony for the MoUs took place at the Chancellery, the office of the German Chancellor, between senior Indian and German ministers and envoys before Modi and Merkel addressed the media.

"Believe me, I know Trump and I know the people around him. And I regard that, far from being good for peace, actually as being very unsafe". Last week, he would tweeted that he would make his "final decision" in the coming days.

Other reports by iNewsToday