Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Merkel: Europe Must Stay United in Face of Ally Uncertainty

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Merkel: Europe Must Stay United in Face of Ally Uncertainty

Article excerpt

LONDON * German Chancellor Angela Merkel declared on Sunday a new chapter in U.S.-European relations after contentious meetings last week with President Donald Trump, saying that Europe "really must take our fate into our own hands."

It was the toughest review yet of Trump's trip to Europe, which inflamed rather than eased tension after the U.S. president sparred with the leaders of Washington's closest and oldest allies on trade, defense and climate change.

Merkel, Europe's de facto leader, told a packed beer hall rally in Munich that the days when her continent could rely on others was "over to a certain extent. This is what I have experienced in the last few days."

The comments came as Europe watches Britain preparing to leave the European Union and now faces antagonism from Washington.

Merkel said that Europe's move toward self-reliance should be carried out "of course in friendship with the United States of America, in friendship with Great Britain and as good neighbors wherever that works."

It was an unusually stark declaration from the normally cautious head of Europe's most powerful economy, and a grim take on the transatlantic ties that have underpinned Western security in the generations since World War II. Although relations between Washington and Europe have been strained at times since 1945, before Trump there has rarely been such a strong feeling from European leaders that they must turn away from Washington and prepare to face the world alone.

The German leader received a minute-long ovation for her comments, which came as she seeks to whip up voter support ahead of September elections. Although her message was partly aimed at her own electorate, it was a measure of how badly relations have deteriorated with Trump's United States that hitting Washington now wins votes while working with it could be perilous. …

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