German Chancellor Angela Merkel said her experience at recent international summits featuring US President Donald Trump showed her Europe can’t “completely” rely on the United States and other longstanding allies.
“The times when we could completely rely on others are, to an extent, over,” Merkel said at a campaign event in Munich. “I experienced that in the last a few days, and therefore I can only say that we Europeans must really take our fate into our own hands.”
Trump addressed NATO members on Thursday, pointedly instructing member nations to increase their defense spending. Then at the G7 summit on Friday and Saturday, leaders including Merkel failed to convince Trump to commit to stay in the Paris climate deal. Trump tweeted from Sicily on Saturday that he would make a final decision next week, and the US took a separate stance on climate from the other nations in the official G7 communique.
Merkel met with former US President Barack Obama in Berlin prior to the NATO summit on Thursday. Along with Obama, Merkel has been one of the most prominent voices from Western nations countering nationalist movements of the kind represented by the Brexit campaign and Trump’s policies.
At the Sunday campaign event, Merkel said that Europeans would continue to work in friendship with the US, the UK and others wherever possible, including Russia, but stressed her view that Europeans must be self-reliant.
“We need to know that we have to fight for our own future and destiny as Europeans,” Merkel said.
She went on to express solidarity with the UK against terror, following a deadly attack at a concert in Manchester, England, last week.
If her party is successful in German elections this fall, Merkel would stand for a fourth term as chancellor. Merkel closed out her Munich speech drinking a mug of beer surrounded by supporters doing the same.