Europe can no longer completely rely on its longstanding American and British allies, German Chancellor Angela Merkel warned at a campaign event held in Munich today following ‘unsatisfactory’ G7 talks this week. The European Union must now be prepared to “take its destiny into its own hands,” she told a crowd of 2,500-strong crowd in the Bavarian capital.
Following the UK’s Brexit vote and Donald Trump’s election as US president, Ms Merkel suggested the once reliable postwar western alliance is now threatened: “the times in which we can fully count on others are somewhat over, as I have experienced in the past few days.”
“I’ve experienced that in the last few days. We Europeans truly have to take our fate into our own hands,” she said.
While Germany and Europe would strive to maintain relations with the US, Britain and “even with Russia”, she added: “We have to know that we must fight for our future on our own, for our destiny as Europeans.”
Her comments came after Mr Trump said he needed more time to decide if the US would continue backing the Paris climate deal and described German trade practices as “bad, very bad” in separate talks in Brussels. Trump also complained that Germany, Europe’s largest economy, sells too many cars to the United States.
At the NATO summit in Brussels on Thursday, Trump said it was “not fair” on US taxpayers that other members of the alliance were failing to match America’s military spending commitment of 2% of GDP.
The Guardian notes: “He failed to endorse the pact’s article five mutual defence clause – an omission seen as especially striking as he was unveiling a memorial to those killed in the 9/11 terrorist attacks against the US, the only time it has been triggered.”
During his first meeting with Chancellor of Germany Angela Merkel back in March, President Trump appeared to ignore requests from the media for the two leaders to shake hands. At one point, Merkel turns to Trump and says, “they want to have a handshake,” but gets no response from Trump.
Watch that moment below: