Trump repeats criticism of Germany, Merkel stands by stance

Modi, whose visit to Germany comes less than a week after Merkel provided the strongest indication yet that the European Union and the USA under President Trump were drifting apart, said India would play a positive role in boosting unity in the grouping. Trump has vowed to walk away from the historic Paris deal while Merkel supports the agreement.

German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel and India's Minister of State for External Affairs Mobashar Jawad Akbar sign documents next to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and German Chancellor Angela Merkel at a ceremony during the 4th round of German-Indian government consultation at the Chancellery in Berlin, Germany, May 30, 2017.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel had made waves in berlin on Sunday, warning that the United States and Britain may no longer be completely reliable partners. "The West has become smaller, at least it has become weaker". "Those who do not oppose this U.S. policy are guilty".

"We Europeans must really take our destiny into our own hands, of course in friendship with the United States, in friendship with Great Britain, with other neighbours wherever possible, also with Russian Federation".

Setting aside the multiple levels of irony, Merkel said: "we have to know that we must fight for our future on our own, for our destiny as Europeans".

Merkel also emphasized the continued need for friendly relations with the US and others. "They were clear and comprehensible".

But Seibert also took the opportunity to stress that Merkel remained "a deeply convinced trans-Atlanticist".

He referred to the "loss of the USA as an important nation" and said that while it was important to maintain dialogue with Washington, Europe needed to become stronger and Germany needed to be more prepared to work with its European Union peers. "They (German-American relations) are a firm pillar of our foreign and security policy, and Germany will continue to work to strengthen these relations". The Trump administration has become fixated with eliminating trade deficits, with top White House officials saying they will act to tilt the balance of trade back towards the US.

Trump failed to reassure European leaders about his commitment to combating Russian aggression with his remarks at North Atlantic Treaty Organisation headquarters in Brussels.

Spicer described Trump's personal relationship with Merkel as excellent. "The figures speak for themselves", she said. "She has been relatively consistent on this".

She also noted that Merkel is seeking a fourth term as chancellor in September, and does not want to be seen as being too close to an American president who is widely disliked in Europe. You know, Europe is an incredibly wealthy and very powerful part of the world that has no ability to project that power outside of its borders in nearly any form, I mean, not even in soft power. "We discussed new and upcoming opportunities and challenges in Asia, Europe and the world", he added.

  • Audrey Hill