German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Tuesday downplayed suggestions that her bid to further develop relations with India and China was a signal that Berlin and the EU were moving away from their traditional allies in London and Washington.

Merkel was hosting a press conference with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi when she was asked whether Germany was looking towards Asia to develop relations, following her comments on Sunday that “Europe could no longer rely on the US and Britain”, reports Efe.

“Our trans-Atlantic relationship is of the utmost importance,” Merkel said.

“What I said recently is due to the fact that, in the face of the present circumstances, we have additional reasons for us to realise that we have to take our fate into our hands in Europe.”

Merkel caused a media stir when she described last week’s summit of G7 leaders as “unsatisfactory”, adding based on what she had experienced during the two-day discussion with other world powers, “Europeans would have to fight for their own future.”

Expounding her answer in Berlin on Tuesday, Merkel continued by saying that US relations would retain the utmost importance irrespective of the Indo-German and German-Chinese talks which, she added, began a long time ago.

Traditional relations between Brussels and Washington have been tested since the inauguration of US President Donald Trump, who had raised eyebrows in the EU with his criticism of NATO and his reticence to back the Paris accord climate change deal.

On Tuesday, shortly after Merkel’s meeting with Modi, Trump used his Twitter to warn Berlin: “We have a MASSIVE trade deficit with Germany, plus they pay FAR LESS than they should on NATO and military. Very bad for US. This will change.”

First Published | 30 May 2017 8:09 PM
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