Chancellor Angela Merkel in her recent speech in Munich said the U.S. and Europe could no longer fully rely on each other - these days are gone. And this is all because of serious disagreements between the U.S. and EU that emerged under President Trump. First of all, it concerns two key aspects, which do not relate to security issues: climate agreement and trade relations.
First of all, Merkel and Trump held several discussions on issues of mutual trade, and Trump’s overly emotional statements were often delivered in a frankly insulting form. They were rather stern, involving direct threats of a possible introduction of trade sanctions – something Germany sees as completely absurd.
Merkel tried to explain to the American leader that the $5 billion imbalance did not in fact relate to Germany but to the American states where the subsidiaries of German automobile factories are located. And that is where the bulk of the money earned goes to their local workers and the development of these very states. And these are the workers, by the way, who mostly voted for Trump.
Trump's statements demonstrated his complete unawareness of the current situation. In particular, I’m talking about his words claiming the U.S. in its trade relations will now treat other countries the way they treat America. That is, he intends to fight some kind of consequences, rather than addressing the actual reasons that led to the imbalance.
Merkel tried to explain to the American leader that the $5 billion imbalance in fact did not relate to Germany but to the American states where the subsidiaries of German automobile factories are located
This incorrect perception of the situation by the U.S. president was what caused deep misunderstanding with the Germans.
Secondly, Germany remains responsible in its attitude to climate change. After all, the enormous flow of refugees which can now gush from the African continent is associated with hunger and lack of water resources. In fact, the war is starting in Africa for territories with major water resources. That is why ignoring the Paris climate agreement by a country like the United States and the rejection of the main objectives of the deal - preventing another global temperature rise by 1.5 degrees – looks stunning for Merkel. After all, the desire to solve this problem is quite logical for fencing the Europe and the whole global civilization from the chaotic migration. That is why Trump’s statement on his will to withdraw from the climate agreement in full or revise its participation is so painful for the U.S. partners both in G7, NATO, and other countries.
Trump's statements demonstrated his complete unawareness of the current situation. In particular, I’m talking about his words claiming the U.S. in its trade relations will now treat other countries the way they treat America
Of course, Europeans are also concerned with Trump’s accusations of not contributing enough to the NATO defense budget. Ukrainians are not yet facing direct threats emerging from the latest confusion between the EU and the U.S.. This conclusion can be made once we look at the common policy of sanctions pressure on Russia, the unity of assessing the situation in Ukraine, and support for our country both by the Europeans and Americans. But it’s still bad for Ukrainians that contradictions exist. G7 countries are getting somewhat weaker as coordination between them disappears and they turn their attention away from Ukraine. Hence, it’s becoming easier for Russia to implement its aggressive foreign policy against Ukraine. As an example, the migration crisis in Europe has weakened the European Union and caused great problems to Ukraine when the introduction of a visa-free travel was delayed for more than a year.
On the other hand, exactly a year ago there was no coordination either. Then the U.S. seemed to have decided firmly on supporting Ukraine and continuing the policy of sanctions against Russia, while the EU was "dancing" around the issue and sought ways to abandon sanctions. Now everything has changed as in a mirror. Although, of course, it would be so much better for Ukraine if the EU and the United States shared a common view on the current situation.
Taras Chornovil is a political analyst and expert in international politics