Trump lashes out at Germany over trade, NATO; promises change

Toby Manning
June 1, 2017

Having declared in Saudi Arabia that he would not "lecture" Arab leaders about human rights, Trump arrived in Brussels and began to lecture America's closest allies, accusing them of owing "massive amounts of money" to North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and USA taxpayers.

Germany unleashed a volley of criticism on Monday against US President Donald Trump, slamming his "shortsighted" policies that have "weakened the West" and hurt European interests.

The German leader reiterated the main thrust of her remarks on Tuesday, saying the "current situation" gives Europe more reasons "to take our destiny into our own hands".

On Sunday, Ms Merkel showed the gravity of her concern about Washington's dependability under Mr Trump when she warned, at an election campaign event in a packed Bavarian beer tent - that the times when Europe could fully rely on others were "over to a certain extent". "I've experienced that in the last few days".

"But we need to know that we have to fight for our own future and destiny as Europeans."

President Donald Trump says he will make a long-awaited decision this week on whether the USA stands by the 2015 Paris deal that aims to slow down global warming.

Trump also purportedly criticized the German auto industry during his meeting with European Union officials. Merkel's message, though not entirely new but all the more urgent, is that Europe - already suffering the departure of Britain as an European Union member - must take responsibility for its own destiny. "Since you're misquoting the chancellor, let me read what she actually said" Spicer claimed. At the Group of Seven summit that followed, Mr Trump's first, passages on free trade and on immigration were substantially altered compared to previous years, while the U.S. was alone in failing to commit to the global Paris climate agreement. Merkel is clearly alluding to Trump's recent attacks on Germany, which reportedly included threatening to halt the import of German cars to the United States.

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"We can reassure Mrs Merkel that we want to have a deep and special partnership so that we can continue to maintain European-wide security to keep us all safe from the terrorists overseas and those that are trying to be nurtured in our country", she said.

Trump returned to Washington over the weekend after his first global swing, creating in the wake tensions with Europe.

Her speech followed several tense exchanges with President Donald Trump at a series of multi-lateral meetings. Still, it is important to note that Merkel expressed her doubts about US support at a campaign event in Germany, where anti-Trump rhetoric plays very well generally.

Angela Merkel often repeats the story of how, back in her days in communist East Germany, she dreamed of retirement.

"His rhetoric and actions suggest he does not consider it a priority to build good and engaging relations with allies the far considered its most important ones", Schwarzer said.

Trump did not hold a news conference after the summit but later tweeted that he would make his "final decision" on the Paris accord this week.

Other reports by VgToday

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