Merkel Snubs Trump’s View of EU as ‘Foe’, Says US – German Friendship ‘under Pressure’
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has rejected US President Donald Trump’s perplexing notion of the EU as a “foe” to America because of its trade policies.
Earlier this week, Trump named the European Union when asked to identify his “biggest foe globally right now” in an interview with “CBS Evening News” in Scotland.
In her annual summer press Q&A session with the press on Friday, however, Germany’s Chancellor declared categorically that the European Union and the United States were not enemies, DW reports.
“I’m not going to adopt that choice of words,” Merkel stated when asked to comment on Trump’s description of the EU as America’s “foe”.
She did acknowledge, though, that US President Donald Trump had put the traditional American – German friendship “under pressure.”
The German Chancellor also added she “hadn’t done any research into the root causes” of what appears to be an antipathy towards Germany on Trump’s part.
She guessed, however, that it may have to do with Germany’s economic might. Regarding Trump’s constant accusations that Germany deliberately keeps distorting its balance of trade with the United States, Merkel reminded her arguments that the trade balance was in America’s favor when services were counted in. She revealed, however, that Trump was not always persuaded by that.
Merkel further praised the European Union as an example of multilateralism and cooperation, and a win-win model for everybody.
She went further by outlining her vision for a Europe starting to act more independently from the United States on the world stage.
“It’s legitimate for Europe to find a role of its own in the world. We have a number of the world’s conflicts directly on our doorstep. So Europe needs to play a greater role in resolving conflict,” the German leader declared.
She recalled her statement from May 2017, months after Trump’s election as President of the United States, that “the days when we could completely rely on the US are in part over”, and pointed out that recent events had “confirmed” its validity.
According to the German leader, who criticized the model of Trumpian protectionism, the threat of a trade war is “serious” between the US and the EU, with potential involvement of other parts of the world.
“The financial crisis of 2007 and 2008 was only overcome through multinational action, for instance, by the G20. China also made a big contribution. This path led us out of an extremely complicated situation,” Merkel argued.
She also dismissed Trump’s arguments in favor of imposing higher tariffs on foreign car imports in the US by emphasizing the fact that today’s auto industry is international in character. For example, German producer BMW’s largest factory is located in Spartanburg, South Carolina.
“The possible tariffs violate the rules of the World Trade Organization and endanger the prosperity of many people around the world,” Merkel said.
The German Chancellor declared that the EU was firmly behind European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker who is to visit the US next week for a meeting with Trump in a bid to avoid the escalating trade conflict.
Merkel did make it clear, however, that the European Union was ready to strike back with retaliatory tariffs if needed.
During her Q&A session, she did say Germany would boost its defense spending, albeit not to the levels that Trump had demanded.
(Banner image: TV grab from ZDF)