Days after President Donald Trump’s first official visit to Europe, German Chancellor Angela Merkel told supporters that the continent must become more self-reliant as some of its traditional allies grow increasingly undependable.
“The times in which we could completely depend on others are on the way out. I’ve experienced that in the last few days,” Merkel said on Sunday in Munich.
“We Europeans truly have to take our fate into our own hands.”
Although Merkel did not mention Trump in her address, her comments appeared aimed at both the president’s turn away from international institutions and the United Kingdom’s Brexit negotiations to leave the European Union.
Merkel’s comments came days after two key international meetings ― a NATO summit in Brussels and the meeting of the highly industrialized G7 democracies in Italy ― attended for the first time by the new U.S. president.
During the G7 meeting, Trump refused to recommit to the Paris Climate agreement, breaking with the other six nations. Reports have since surfaced that he has told confidants that he plans for the U.S. to exit the international accord.
At the NATO summit earlier last week, Trump publicly chastised other member states for what he considers their failure to contribute sufficient amounts of their GDP to the defense alliance.
Both summits also featured several uncomfortable personal moments between the American president and his European counterparts. Two apparently confrontational handshakes between Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron made immediate headlines, as did the American president’s decision to ride in a golf cart through the streets of Sicily while the other G7 leaders walked together.
Since Trump’s election and the U.K.’s decision to leave the European Union, Merkel has called repeatedly on European leaders to stick together.
Shortly before Trump’s inauguration in January, the German chancellor similarly told reporters that “we Europeans have our fate in our own hands.” Merkel reiterated the point a month later during a speech in Malta.
Even as Merkel Sunday continued to urge Europe to take responsibility for its own future, she reiterated the need for continued cooperation with other states.
“We need to have friendly relations with the U.S. and with the U.K. and with other neighbors, including Russia,” Merkel said.
Merkel is running for a fourth term as German chancellor in upcoming elections later this year, and has attempted to posture herself as the best candidate to guide both Germany and Europe through a period of global uncertainty.