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Merkel Says Europe Can No Longer 'Completely Depend' On U.S., U.K.

  • RFE/RL

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Europe can no longer "completely depend" on the United States and the United Kingdom after the election of President Donald Trump and the Brexit vote.

Merkel told an election rally in Munich on May 28 that while it’s important to maintain friendly relations with allies such as the United States and the United Kingdom, she could no longer “fully count on” them and that Europeans must take “our destiny” into their own hands.

"The times in which we could completely depend on others are on the way out. I've experienced that in the last few days," Merkel said.

“We Europeans truly have to take our fate into our own hands,” she added, receiving a minute-long ovation after her remarks.

Trump, upon his return from Europe, appeared to have a differing view of the trip from that of the German chancellor.

“Just returned from Europe. Trip was a great success for America. Hard work but big results!” Trump wrote on May 28 on Twitter.

Stephan Bierling, an expert on transatlantic relations at Germany’s University of Regensburg, told The Washington Post that “the belief in shared values has been shattered by the Trump administration.”

"After the inauguration, everyone in Europe was hopeful that Trump would become more moderate and take into account the positions of the G-7 and of NATO. But the opposite has happened. It’s as if he is still trying to win a campaign,” Bierling said.

Merkel’s comments came a day after a meeting of the leaders of seven wealthy democracies in Sicily failed to end in a deal to uphold the Paris climate accord, while there was also a split on trade and the question of refugees.

During a meeting with European Union leaders in Brussels on May 26, Trump sharply criticized Germany for failing to meet NATO military spending targets and reportedly complained about German auto exports.

Martin Schulz, Merkel's challenger for the chancellor job in September elections, appeared to find common ground with the German chancellor.

He told broadcaster ARD that European countries must bond ever closer together in response to Trump’s attitude.

"Europe is the answer," he said. "Stronger cooperation among the European countries at all levels is the answer to Donald Trump."

Schulz said Trump resembled an "authoritarian leader" who wants to "humiliate others."

With reporting by The Guardian, BBC, The Huffington Post, The Washington Post, and dpa
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