Washington, Berlin- US President Donald Trump and German Chancellor Angela Merkel recently have been fighting a war of words as tensions escalate to unprecedented measures between the two countries.
After the G7 summit concluded in Sicily, and with the absence of a Trump statement on the Paris Climate Agreement, Merkel blatantly criticized the new US president’s policy.
European leaders were especially dismayed by Trump’s refusal to reaffirm US support for last year’s Paris climate change accord and his failure to publicly endorse NATO’s mutual defense pledge.
Germany was particularly discomfited, and Merkel wasted no time in warning German voters that the United States can no longer be relied upon as before.
For his part, Trump did not shy away from criticizing NATO on payments made by members. The tit-for-tat dispute escalated rapidly after Trump, at back-to-back summits last week, criticized major NATO allies over their military spending and refused to endorse a global climate change accord.
US President Donald Trump called Germany’s trade and spending policies “very bad” on Tuesday, intensifying the row between the longtime allies.
As the dispute threatened to spin out of control, Merkel and other senior German politicians stressed the importance of Germany’s Atlantic ties, with Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel suggesting the spat was just a rough patch.
Trump took to Twitter early in the day to attack Germany, a day after Chancellor Angela Merkel ramped up her doubts about the reliability of Washington as an ally.
“We have a MASSIVE trade deficit with Germany, plus they pay FAR LESS than they should on NATO & military. Very bad for US This will change,” Trump tweeted.
In January, the White House accused Germany of exploiting an undervalued euro to boost its trade advantage, despite Berlin’s long opposition to the European Central Bank’s loose monetary policy.
On Sunday, Merkel showed the gravity of her concern about Washington’s dependability under Trump when she warned, at an election campaign event in a packed Bavarian beer tent, that the times when Europe could fully rely on others were “over to a certain extent”.
Those comments, which caused shock in Washington, vented Europe’s frustration with Trump on climate policy in particular. And while German politicians sided with Merkel, FM Gabriel signaled that it was time for cooler heads to prevail.
In Rome, Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni said he agreed with Merkel that Europe needed to forge its own path.
“This takes nothing away from the importance of our trans-Atlantic ties and our alliance with the United States. But the importance we put on these ties cannot mean that we abandon fundamental principles such as our commitment to fight climate change and in favor of open societies and free trade,” he said.