German Chancellor Angela Merkel has vowed to maintain close economic and defense ties with the U.S. despite disagreements with President Donald Trump over a number of foreign policy and trade issues.
Speaking at a press conference in Munich, after a meeting with the leader of her coalition partner Christian Social Union (CSU), Merkel stressed that German government is willing to work closely with the U.S., to enhance cooperation based on common interests.
“We will see on which issues we will disagree, and on which issues we can continue our cooperation,” Merkel said.
“But it is in Germany’s interest to further strengthen cooperation, under the best possible conditions, in a number of areas where we have common interests, from cooperation between our intelligence services to the issues of defense. And as a matter of fact, the U.S. is our biggest trade partner. Of course this also plays a big role,” she added.
Merkel, however, renewed her criticism of Trump administration for its controversial move to ban travel from seven Muslim-majority countries, but she also underlined that Berlin and Washington need to continue close cooperation in addressing international challenges, such as the fight against terrorism and conflict in eastern Ukraine.
Underlining NATO’s essential role for international security, Merkel also promised stronger contribution of Germany to the transatlantic alliance.
The German Chancellor’s remarks echoed growing fears in European capitals over radical change in the U.S foreign policy under Donald Trump.
The new U.S. president has recently questioned the value of NATO, and criticized European allies for not sharing the burden on defense spending.
Trump has also blasted the EU as “a vehicle for Germany,” and voiced support for the U.K.’s decision to leave the EU, predicting more member states to leave the bloc.
The U.S. president’s threat to increase tariffs on imports from Germany, has also raised worries among large German companies, particularly the car producers.
When asked about Trump's protectionist policy proposals, Merkel spoke cautiously and declined to speculate.
“We should now first wait and see what the U.S. administration would do, and then we would consider whether or not to respond,” she said.
Merkel also cautioned against unilateral moves as she argued that close cooperation among the world’s largest economies made it possible in the past to overcome the banking and financial crisis.
Source: Anadolu Agency