BERLIN – German Chancellor Angela Merkel is standing by her suggestion that Europe can no longer entirely rely on the U.S. as she prepares to host President Donald Trump at the Group of 20 summit.
Merkel made the comment during a campaign event in late May, shortly after the G-7 summit in Italy.
Asked in an interview with weekly Die Zeit published Wednesday whether she would repeat it today, she replied: “Yes, exactly that way.”
“It is, for example, open whether we can and should in the future rely on the U.S. investing so much as it has so far in the United Nations’ work, in Middle East policy, in European security policy or in peace missions in Africa,” Merkel was quoted as saying.
She conceded that “we really don’t have a legal claim to the Americans committing themselves everywhere in the world.”
“The U.S. will probably not engage in Africa to the extent that would be necessary, particularly since they barely have oil interests any more in Africa and the Arab world,” she said.
Merkel held a pre-summit meeting in Berlin last week with the event’s European participants, who underscored their backing for the Paris accord fighting climate change.
Merkel reiterated that the Trump administration’s decision to withdraw from the Paris accord is “extraordinarily regrettable,” though she noted that many U.S. states and cities want to continue participating.
“We have to react now to prevent long-term consequences” of climate change, she added.
The chancellor also pointed to a broader difference between Germany and the U.S. administration on globalization.
“While we seek chances to cooperate for everyone’s benefit, globalization is seen in the American administration as a process which isn’t about win-win situations but about winners and losers,” she said.
Trump won’t be the only challenging guest at the summit Friday and Saturday in Hamburg, which will also include Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“We have to take the configurations as they are,” Merkel said. “As G-20 chairwoman, I have the job of working out ways of reaching agreement and not contributing to an inability to talk.”
“At the same time, the differences must not be swept under the carpet,” she added.