German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Tuesday said that it is “extremely important” for Europe to become an “committed diplomatic actor”, notably because of the evolution of the United States under Donald Trump, while qualifying as “primordial” the transatlantic relationship.
This statement comes two days after she had made a splash by saying, following a very difficult G7, that Europeans can no longer totally count on the United States of Donald Trump.
“The transatlantic relationship is of paramount importance. What I have simply done is to say that given the current situation, there is even more reason why we must take our destiny in Europe,” She said on Tuesday at a press conference. “Europe must be an actor who also engages internationally, I consider this to be extremely important,” added the Chancellor who was receiving Indian Premier Narenda Modi.
According to her, it is necessary for the Europeans to have a “common foreign policy” for example to push for “the resolution of the conflict in Libya”.
“On some issues, we are not as good as we should be, the issue of migration policy in particular,” she said.
Mrs Merkel and other European leaders have in the past stressed the need for the EU to assert itself on the international stage in order to better defend its interests. But so far, the implementation of European diplomatic action has stumbled on the prerogatives of the member states in this area and their reluctance to abandon sovereignty in favor of a more common international stance.
In recent days, Berlin has once again insisted on this objective while raising the tone in the face of Donald Trump, notably because of his refusal to say whether he will or will not hold the Paris climate agreement.
On Monday, the German Foreign Minister, Social Democrat Sigmar Gabriel, was very aggressive towards the US president, who, he accused, of “weakening” the West and working against the interests of the European Union.
These tensions are not new. From the day the businessman was elected, the Chancellor had told Donald Trump that he had to adhere to the values of the Western democracies after a campaign of slippage and controversy. The US president, before and after his election, also did not deprive himself of attacking Germany. Faithful to his anti-free-trade speech, he adopted a very tough tone with regard to German trade surpluses, threatening to impose customs duties in retaliation.
He also accused Berlin of owing “huge sums of money” to NATO and the United States.