Berlin must reassess its relationship with Washington as the US can no longer be considered a fully trustworthy partner, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said. His comments come after Donald Trump called the EU a trade “foe.”
“We can no longer completely rely on the White House,” Maas said while speaking to German media on Monday. “To maintain our partnership with the USA, we must re-adjust it. The first clear consequence can only be that we need to align ourselves even more closely in Europe.”
Germany’s top diplomat also took aim at Trump’s often provocative tweets, noting that “Europe must not let itself be divided, however sharp the verbal attacks and absurd the tweets may be.”
His comments come on the heels of Trump’s indelicate European tour, during which the US president clashed with NATO allies in Brussels and ruffled feathers in the UK. Already visibly irked by the US leader’s previous statement about Germany being a “captive” of Russia, Berlin appears to have also taken issue with comments made by Trump on Sunday, in which he said that he considered the European Union a “foe” for “what they do to us in trade.”
“If the American president identifies the European Union as a ‘foe,’ this unfortunately shows once more how wide the Atlantic has become in political terms since Donald Trump has been in office,” Maas said during his interview with the Funke newspaper group.
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During a news conference in Berlin on Monday, Angela Merkel’s spokesman Steffen Seibert disputed Trump’s characterization of Washington’s relationship with Europe. “That isn’t our view of the relations between the European Union and the US. On the contrary, there are many strong reasons for good transatlantic relations,” Seibert said.
However, Maas’ comments seem in line with remarks made by the German chancellor last year. Merkel noted in May 2017 that Europe’s dependence on strong relations with the US since World War II is “to some extent over,” adding that the bloc must begin to chart a more independent course.
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