The German Chancellor has had an often tense relationship with President Donald Trump since he took office in January. Earlier this year, after Mr Trump said he would pull the US out of the Paris Accord and following the UK’s vote to leave the EU, she said European countries could no longer rely on their traditional allies.
Now Ms Merkel appears to have demoted the US in election material prepared jointly by her Christian Democratic Union (CDU), and its its Bavarian sister party, the Christian Social Union (CSU).
According to Reuters, four years ago, their election material referred to the United States as Germany’s “most important friend” outside of Europe. The 2013 programme also described the friendship with Washington as a “cornerstone” of Germany’s international relations.
But the news agency said the words “friend” and “friendship” were missing from the latest election programme, entitled “For a Germany in which we live well and happily”.
Rather, the programme now calls the US Germany’s “most important partner” outside of Europe.
After talks with Mr Trump at the G7 summit in Italy in May, Ms Merkel described the discussions with the US President on climate change as “unsatisfying”. Last week, she told Germany’s parliament she was ready to confront Mr Trump again on the topic at the upcoming Group of 20 summit in Germany.
Mr Trump frequently criticised Ms Merkel during the presidential campaign last year, attacking her immigration policy as “insane”.
He has also repeatedly denounced Germany’s trade surplus with the United States and accused Berlin and other European partners of owing “massive amounts of money” to Nato.
A survey by the Pew Research Centre last week showed just 35 per cent of Germans had a favourable view of the US, down from 57 per cent at the end of President Barack Obama’s term.
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