Time to ‘take fate into its own hands’: Europe can’t rely on US protection anymore, says Merkel
“It’s no longer the case that the United States will simply just protect us,” Merkel said in a speech honoring President Macron, who came to Aachen to receive the prestigious Charlemagne Prize. Receiving a round of applause, Merkel stated: “Rather, Europe needs to take its fate into its own hands. That’s the task for the future.
Europe has to “act together and speak with one voice," she said, as cited by Germany’s Die Welt newspaper. “But let's be honest: Europe is still in its infancy with regard to the common foreign policy.”
Speaking after Merkel, Macron said that “We should not be waiting, we must do something right now. Let us not be weak,” added the French president.
Last year, Merkel had made a similar statement, urging Europe to become less dependent on its transatlantic ally. “The times in which we could completely depend on others are on the way out. I've experienced that in the last few days,” she told a crowd a day after attending the G7 summit in Italy.
The German chancellor, who secured her fourth term earlier this year, reiterated that Europeans “must really take our destiny into our own hands, of course in friendship with the United States, in friendship with Great Britain, with good neighborly relations wherever possible, also with Russia and other countries.”
Nevertheless, countries within the EU “have to know that we have to fight for our future and our fate ourselves as Europeans."
Merkel’s statement comes shortly after US President Donald Trump announced his decision to withdraw from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, prompting a backlash from members of the accord, including Germany. On Wednesday, the German chancellor said: “We will remain committed to this agreement and will do everything to ensure that Iran complies with its obligations.”
While Merkel avoided openly criticizing Trump, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas earlier accused the US leader of “not insignificantly throwing back the efforts to bring stability to the region.” Describing Trump's decision as “incomprehensible,” Maas said the move would undermine confidence in international treaties.
On Thursday, he reiterated that it is crucial for Iran to stick to its obligations under the international nuclear deal, and that Moscow should use its influence on Tehran in this regard. Speaking after talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, Maas also said that Berlin and Moscow agreed that the Iran nuclear agreement should be upheld.
Moscow recently said it believes that there are ways to guarantee continued cooperation between Iran and the other parties to the deal despite Washington’s attempts to disrupt it. “There are means to guarantee that this cooperation would continue despite the attempts to deter it,” the Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov said.
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