Angela Merkel, minister stress U.S. ties after critical Donald Trump tweet


President Donald Trump may be aggravating Germany, France and other USA allies in Europe with his tirades and qualms about trade imbalances, North Atlantic Treaty Organisation spending and the Paris climate change deal. Germany's Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel followed her and blasted the USA, saying the Trump administration's "short-sighted policies... stand against the interest of the European Union".

Mr Spicer's comments come after Ms Merkel told German supporters that Europe can no longer rely on Britain and the U.S. anymore.

"We have a MASSIVE trade deficit with Germany, plus they pay FAR LESS than they should on North Atlantic Treaty Organisation & military". The political panorama in Europe has changed following Brexit and Trump saying that European Union member nations should shoulder greater responsibilities for their defence, especially against an expansionist Russian Federation.

"He has a lot of respect for her ... and he views not just Germany but the rest of Europe as an important American ally", White House spokesman Sean Spicer said.

European leaders were especially dismayed by Trump's refusal to reaffirm U.S. support for last year's Paris climate change accord and his failure to publicly endorse NATO's mutual defense pledge.

After an unsatisfactory G7 summit, German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Sunday made a campaign speech in a Bavarian beer tent, grumbling Europe's alignment with the USA and Britain.

Those comments, which caused shock in Washington, vented Europe's frustration with Mr Trump on climate policy in particular.

The sharp words from German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel came after Mr Trump concluded his first official tour overseas, which took him to Saudi Arabia, Israel, Brussels and then Italy for a G7 summit. "That's what I've experienced in recent days", she said at a campaign rally in the southern German city of Munich, adding however, that she was a "convinced transatlanticist".

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Speaking after a meeting with India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi, she went out of her way to laud the South Asian country as a "reliable partner" on major projects and noted that India was working hard to implement the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement.

But Martin Schulz, leader of Mr Gabriel's centre-left Social Democrats, was less diplomatic earlier in the day when he told reporters Mr Trump was "the destroyer of all Western values".

He added: "That's what the President [Trump] called for".

In Rome, Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni said he agreed with Merkel that Europe needed to forge its own path. "But the importance we put on these ties can not mean that we abandon fundamental principles such as our commitment to fight climate change and in favour of open societies and free trade", he said.

In Washington, Trump administration officials appeared to try to soften the message underlying Mr Trump's tweet with comments emphasising the importance of US-European ties.

The visit by Asian leaders in quick succession have led to the western media calling it an "Asian pivot" to Europe and Germany, the most important pillar of the European Union now that Britain was preparing to exit the largest single market.

"It's not a change in policy".

"As we begin the negotiations about leaving the EU, we will be able to reassure Germany and other European countries that we are going to be a strong partner to them in defence and security and, we hope, in trade", Britain's Home Secretary Amber Rudd told BBC radio. "... Germany will see in time that we have the backs of our allies, and all of our allies are starting to see that ... and when the time comes we need them to have our back as well".