One day after Donald Trump infuriated Angela Merkel and the rest of his G-7 peers, when the US president refused to endorse the Paris climate treaty, prompting the German chancellor to say that “the whole discussion about climate has been difficult, or rather very unsatisfactory… here we have the situation that six members, or even seven if you want to add the EU, stand against one”, Germany’s prime minister made what many have dubbed, an “era-defining” statement.
Speaking at a CDU election rally in Munich, Merkel said that Europe “must take its fate into its own hands” or as the AFP put it, “Merkel warns US, Britain no longer reliable partners.”
Video: Merkel’s speech in Munich saying Europe can’t rely on the US & UK anymore & “must take destiny in own hands”pic.twitter.com/ikfbjhcxUG
— Rob S (@RobPulseNews) May 28, 2017
Faced with a western alliance divided by Brexit and Donald Trump’s presidency, Merkel said “die zeiten, in denen wir uns auf andere völlig verlassen konnten, sind ein Stück vorbei”, or loosely translated “the times in which we could completely depend on others are on the way out” and added that “I’ve experienced that in the last few days.”
Merkel today: “The times in which [Germany] could fully rely on others are partly over. I have experienced this in the last few days.”
— Mathieu von Rohr (@mathieuvonrohr) May 28, 2017
Merkel then said that while Germany and Europe would strive to remain on good terms with America and Britain, “we have to fight for our own destiny” and she also said that special emphasis was needed on warm relations between Berlin and newly-elected French President Emmanuel Macron.
Her comments came after Trump said during the G-7 meeting he needed more time to decide if the US would continue backing the Paris climate deal, which has frustrated European diplomats. A subseqent report by Axios, Trump privately told multiple people, including EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, that “he plans to leave the Paris agreement on climate change” which will likely further infurate his European allies.
During his trip, Trump also echoed his past criticism of NATO allies for failing to meet the defensive alliance’s military spending commitment of two percent of GDP.
Observers noted that he neglected to publicly endorse the pact’s Article Five, which guarantees that member countries will aid the others they are attacked. The omission was especially striking as he unveiled a memorial to the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks against the US, the only time the mutual defense clause has been triggered.
On Friday, Trump also described German trade practices as “bad, very bad,” in Brussels talks last week, complaining that Europe’s largest economy sells too many cars to the US.
Reactions to Merkel’s striking comment came pouring in from the likes of Edward Snowden who called her speech an “era-defining moment”:
This is an era-defining moment. https://t.co/01NpEriRvv
— Edward Snowden (@Snowden) May 28, 2017
… the president of the Council on Foreign Relations. Richard Haass, who called it a “watershed moment”
Merkel saying Europe cannot rely on others & needs to take matters into its own hands is a watershed-& what US has sought to avoid since WW2
— Richard N. Haass (@RichardHaass) May 28, 2017
… and many others:
Unprecedented fighting talk from Merkel as she says last few days have showed her that Europe cannot rely on US anymore. Wow. pic.twitter.com/bId3wNOTFj
— James Rothwell (@JamesERothwell) May 28, 2017
— Eric Geller (@ericgeller) May 28, 2017
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