Newsbud Exclusive- Merkel’s Tenuous Pact with America in the Age of Trump.

Berlin Foreign Policy Forum 2017 – A Turning Point in US-German Relations?

Upon taking office, German Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) decided to make “a pact with America the cornerstone of her foreign policy,” reorienting Germany away from Russia and back towards the United States.[1]

This pact has become increasingly tenuous after the election of Donald Trump as this year’s Berlin Foreign Policy Forum demonstrated.

The Berlin Foreign Policy Forum is an annual event hosted by the Körber Foundation in cooperation with Germany’s Federal Foreign Office, bringing together politicians, government representatives, foreign policy experts and journalists to discuss German foreign policy and Germany’s role in the world.[2]

German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel (SPD) opened this year’s forum with an unprecedented attack on Merkel’s pact with America, telling the audience: “Germany cannot afford to wait for decisions from Washington, or to merely react to them. We must lay out our own position and make clear to our allies where the limits of our solidarity are reached.”[3]

Gabriel’s speech dovetailed with a survey published by the Körber Foundation at the Berlin Foreign Policy Forum, according to which 56 percent of Germans consider relations with Washington to be somewhat bad or very bad.[4]

Relations with the United States under Trump are seen as a bigger foreign policy challenge than relations with Erdogan’s Turkey or Putin’s Russia, ranking second on the list of foreign policy concerns behind refugees.[5]

Moreover, the survey found that a striking 88 percent of Germans would give a defense partnership with European states priority over the partnership with the United States.[6]

Gabriel tried to tap into these sentiments with his speech, calling for a new European foreign policy that recognizes the differences between U.S. and European interests.[7]

Germany and its European partners should be more assertive in setting foreign policy according to their own interests rather than to those of the United States, Gabriel argued.

The German Foreign Minister gave three examples of U.S. actions that run against European interests. [READ MORE]

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