Wednesday, 21 November, 2018

Merkel hosts Indian leader Modi, looks to broaden world ties

Nellie Chapman | 31 May, 2017, 05:37

It was the latest in a diplomatic spat between the two allies following what German Chancellor Angela Merkel said were "very unsatisfactory" talks with the USA at the G7 Summit in Sicily earlier this week after Trump's first tour overseas, when he snubbed pressure from allies to sign up to upholding the 2015 Paris climate accord.

President Trump tweeted just hours ago, "We have a MASSIVE trade deficit with Germany, plus they pay FAR LESS than they should on North Atlantic Treaty Organisation & military".

At a press conference in Berlin, Merkel said that diplomatic relationship with the USA was of "outstanding importance" but that discord on key issues such as climate change meant that "we in Europe must take our fate into our own hands".

"The times in which we could completely depend on others are, to a certain extent, over", she told the rally in Munich. "Very bad for U.S. This will change".

"Donald Trump is making clear with his tweet that he considers Germany a political opponent", said Thomas Oppermann, the parliamentary caucus leader of the Social Democrats, the junior partners in Merkel's coalition government.

The comments come after Merkel acknowledged in the wake of the G7 summit that Trump's presidency had upended Europe's traditional alliance with the US.

"All I can say is that we Europeans must really take our destiny into our own hands", she said.

Merkel reiterated the sentiment on Tuesday, saying that relations with the U.S. were of "outstanding importance" but that Germany must also look elsewhere.

Merkel, trying to fix damage after shocking Washington on Sunday by declaring the era in which Europe could rely on its partners was somewhat over, repeatedly stressed the importance of trans-Atlantic ties.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel addressing the news media in Berlin on Tuesday.

In a sign of Berlin's shifting focus towards Asia, Merkel is also due to meet Chinese Premier Li Keqiang on Wednesday.

"For that reason it's important to us that we make progress on the German-Indian, or rather EU-Indian free trade agreement", she said at a Berlin business forum where she shared a platform with Modi.