German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s words Sunday indicate what may begin a gradual parting of ways between Europe and the United States.
Speaking at a campaign event in Munich, Merkel said her recent interactions with Donald Trump have shown her that Europe can no longer “completely” rely on America and its other longstanding allies.
“The times when we could completely rely on others are, to an extent, over,” the Chancellor said. “I experienced that in the last few days, and therefore I can only say that we Europeans must really take fate into our own hands.”
Her words come after a series of differences emerged between American and European Union leadership, highlighted during Trump’s speech to NATO members on Thursday. The President, in line with campaign-trail rhetoric, urged members of the alliance to increase defense spending as a percentage of national budget.
Following his pleas for an increase in NATO armaments, Merkel and other European politicians tried persuading Donald Trump at G7 to commit to staying in the Paris Agreement, which combats global warming. Trump had previously said he planned to remove the United States from the treaty.
Just returned from Europe. Trip was a great success for America. Hard work but big results!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 28, 2017
Tweeting from Sicily, the President said he’d make a decision on the Paris Agreement in the upcoming week.
His stance on climate change and environmental policies are largely at odds with the leadership of other G7 nations.
Merkel’s declarations of Europe’s divergence from its allies come at a time of resurgent nationalism, evidenced by the election of Donald Trump and the United Kingdom’s ‘Brexit’ referendum.
“We need to know that we have to fight for our own future and destiny as Europeans,” she said.
She solidified her commitment to a European vision by offering support to France, which recently underwent a turbulent presidential election, pitting a moderate political outsider against a candidate described by many as ‘far-right.’
“Where Germany can help, Germany will help, because Germany can do well only if Europe is doing well,” Merkel said, referring to the victory of French moderate candidate Emmanuel Marcon in the election.
Combining her expectations for Europe with frustration for Donald Trump and his politics, she said following negotiations with the President on the Paris Agreement that, “The whole discussion about climate was very difficult, not to say unsatisfactory.”
However, President Trump saw the situation differently.
He said to media over the weekend that he was committed to ensuring “NATO members meet their financial obligations and pay what they owe.”
On Twitter, he bragged, “Just returned from Europe. Trip was a great success for America. Hard work but big results!”