German Chancellor Angela Merkel has met in Paris with French President Emmanuel Macron ahead of a visit by U.S. President Donald Trump, with the two European leaders expressing the need for continental self-reliance along with cooperation with the United States.
Merkel on July 13 told a news conference that Europe "must take its fate more into its own hands" on security matters but at the same time said "we need close cooperation" with the United States despite "all differences of opinions."
Trump arrived later in Paris, greeted by Macron at the the Invalides, the building that houses the tomb of Napoleon Bonaparte.
There were no immediate public comments by Trump and Macron. The two are scheduled to hold a joint press conference at 6:25 p.m. local time (1625 GMT/UTC).
Before Trump's arrival, Macron welcomed Merkel for a joint cabinet meeting between their governments.
In a joint news conference, Merkel said that "in light of the many developments in our neighborhood, Europe must take its fate more into its own hands.
"We need to be successful, and we need to provide security as well as progress to our citizens."
But, she added, "On security issues we need close cooperation with the United States of America, despite all differences of opinion."
She said the Western allies remained dependent on each other for security in the "world of the 21st century."
"Alone, Europe cannot win the fight against terrorism, for example. There is a reason why we are members of NATO," she said.
Merkel and Trump have had what were perceived as awkward moments during talks in Washington and during Trump's first trip to Europe in May. They met again at the Group of 20 summit in Germany on July 7-8.
Merkel has spoken in recent days about "obvious" disagreements with Washington, and her ruling Christian Democratic Union recently dropped the term "friend" to describe Germany's relationship with the United States.
Among the key differences separating Europe and the United States is Trump's decision last month to withdraw from the Paris climate accord, his perceived tilt toward Russia, and criticism of NATO and the European Union.
In reference to talks with Trump, Merkel said in Paris, "We did not paper over these differences, but nevertheless contact, the ability to speak is, of course, important."
Macron said it was "obvious and indispensable" to have exchanges with Trump and added that France and Germany agreed on the importance of close U.S. relations despite their differences.
Trump will help Macron mark Bastille Day, the French national day, on July 14 and commemorate the 100th anniversary of the United States' entry into World War I as an ally of France against Germany.
"We should never forget that history is bigger than us," Macron said.
With reporting by Reuters, AFP, and AP