Merkel appears to take aim at Trump with vow to take on ‘more responsibility’ in world

Germany must ‘stand up for, argue and fight more strongly for our convictions’

Eleanor Busby
Tuesday 01 January 2019 13:44
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Angela Merkel delivers veiled rebuke to Donald Trump as she says Germany will have to take greater role in world

Angela Merkel appears to have delivered a veiled rebuke to Donald Trump as she vowed Germany would in future play a larger role in the world.

In her new year’s address, the German chancellor said the concept of international cooperation was “coming under pressure” – which has been interpreted as a reference to strained relations with the US president.

Ms Merkel said her country must “stand up for, argue and fight more strongly for our convictions” and “take on more responsibility in our own interests”.

The chancellor devoted a large part of her speech to the benefits of bringing a multilateral approach to international problems – which she has defended in the face of Mr Trump’s “America First” foreign policy.

Ms Merkel said Germany will push for “global solutions” as it takes up a two-year seat on the UN Security Council, and she noted that the country is spending more on defence and humanitarian aid.

Ms Merkel, who will step down as chancellor in 2021, pointed to curbing climate change, managing migration and combating terrorism as the kinds of challenges that benefit from international cooperation.

She said: “We want to resolve all these questions in our own interest, and we can do that best if we consider the interests of others.

“That is the lesson from the two world wars of the last century. But this conviction is no longer shared today by everyone, and certainties of international cooperation are coming under pressure.”

Ms Merkel added: “In such a situation, we must again stand up for, argue and fight more strongly for our convictions. And we must take on more responsibility in our own interests.”

It came after Ms Merkel and Mr Trump exchanged blows over foreign and domestic policies.

Ahead of the Nato summit in July, Mr Trump reportedly sent a letter to the chancellor urging her to spend more on national defence.

The US president also called members of the alliance “delinquent” and questioned why Germany was buying gas from Russia.

Ms Merkel hit back at the time, saying: “I have experienced myself how a part of Germany was controlled by the Soviet Union. I am very happy that today we are united in freedom, the Federal Republic of Germany.”

Additional reporting by AP

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