German Chancellor Angela Merkel, in an interview with the Financial Times, described her rocky relationship with President Trump as having “structural causes” sparked by the greater separation between the U.S. and Europe.
“There’s been a shift,” she said. “President Obama already spoke about the Asian century, as seen from the U.S. perspective. This also means that Europe is no longer, so to say, at the center of world events.”
“The United States’ focus on Europe is declining — that will be the case under any president,” she added.
The U.S. has split from Europe on key foreign policy issues, including pulling out of the Iran nuclear deal in 2018. Trump has also expressed resentment toward Germany and European countries over their military spending and contributions to NATO.
Merkel said Europeans needed to do more.
“We in Europe, and especially in Germany, need to take on more responsibility,” she told the Times.
But Merkel also noted that Germany has increased its defense budget, calling it “a huge step from Germany’s perspective”.
The German leader also highlighted the importance of the relationship with the U.S., saying it “remains crucial for me, particularly as regards fundamental questions concerning values and interests in the world”.