Published: Tue, May 30, 2017
World News | By Cecilia Wilkerson

Angela Merkel says Europe must take fate into own hands

Angela Merkel says Europe must take fate into own hands

German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Sunday cast doubts on EU's alignment with the United States and Britain, saying Europeans should determine their own destiny. "Those negotiations will start just 11 days after polling day and there won't be any putting it off".

His administration has argued that USA emissions standards are tougher than those set by China, India and others, and therefore have put American businesses at a disadvantage. Making sure that we get this right is going to be absolutely critical, and we don't underestimate the difficulty.

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Mr. Trump - whose views on climate change are "evolving," according to his top economic adviser Gary Cohn - has said he will make a decision next week on whether the USA will stay in the 2015 Paris agreement. "I've experienced that in the last few days", Mrs Merkel told a crowd at an election rally in Munich, southern Germany. After a bruising set of meetings of G7 wealthy nations and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation last week, Merkel - who is seeking re-election in September - suggested on Sunday that Europeans had to take fate into their own hands, prompting concern in Washington and London.

The poll also showed that if German chancellor were directly elected, 52 percent would opt for Merkel and 29 percent would choose Schulz.

So what at first listen may sound like a major departure from Germany's commitment to the transatlantic alliance is, in fact, consistent with Merkel's rhetoric ever since Donald Trump was elected US president.

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Observers also noted that he did not endorse the pact's Article Five, which guarantees that member countries will aid others if they are attacked.

Following the end of the G-7 meeting in Sicily on Saturday, Merkel was sharply critical of Trump's decision not to join the other countries in reiterating support for the 2015 Paris Agreement that aims to slow global warming, calling the climate talks "very unsatisfactory".

But Almut Möller, Head of the European Council on Foreign Relations' Berlin office and Senior Policy Fellow, believes Merkel's latest remarks should be taken in a more modest light. Her spokesman Steffen Seibert, said Monday the chancellor is "a convinced trans-Atlanticist". "She has been relatively consistent on this". His ascent to power helped put a mental cap on a one-two hit previous year after Britain voted to leave the European Union and the nationalist Trump was elected in the United States. Some local media even dubbed it as "Schulz effect", and speculated Schulz might substitute Merkel since she lost momentum due to the migrant crisis.

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"She feels there is a turning point - trans-Atlantic relations won't be the relations we've seen over the last decades", Tempel said.

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