A few changes were made recently to German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s new campaign program. While they might be small, President Trump should still take them very seriously.
According to Reuters, the campaign program for German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union party drops all references to the U.S. as a “friend” of Germany.
Merkel’s 2013 program referred to the U.S. as Germany’s “most important friend” outside of Europe. It also described Germany’s “friendship” with Washington as a “cornerstone” of Germany’s international relationships.
Now, Merkel 2017 program, titled “For a Germany in which we live well and happily,” refers to the U.S. as Germany’s “most important partner” outside of Europe.
Clearly, Trump’s repeated attacks on the German chancellor for everything from immigration to defense spending have not gone unnoticed.
With these attacks in mind, it’s not particularly surprising that Merkel has changed her tune regarding the U.S. over the last few months.
The results of a survey conducted by the Pew Research Center last week revealed that Merkel is not the only German who has changed her mind about the U.S. The poll found that the majority of Germans no longer see the U.S. favorably. At the end of President Obama’s second term, 57 percent of Germans had a favorable view of the U.S. Now, just 35 percent of Germans have that same opinion.
A few other significant changes have been made to Merkel’s election program. First, the new program omits a passage about strengthening economic ties with the U.S. Instead, it references the U.S.’s support for Germany following World War II and in the run-up to German reunification.
The program also includes a quote from the speech Merkel delivered in Munich following the G7 summit. In that speech, Merkel said that Europe can no longer rely on the U.S. for support.
‘The times in which we could fully rely on others are, to a certain extent, in the past. We Europeans must take our fate into our own hands more decisively than we have in the past.’
To further drive home this point, the program features a special section titled “Germany and France as the Motor of Europe.” That section details Merkel’s plans to “reinvigorate the friendship” between the two countries.
‘We are ready, together with the new French government, to further develop the euro zone step by step, for example through the creation of its own monetary fund.’
Merkel and Trump are set to meet in Hamburg on Thursday, the day before they will both attend the Group of 20 summit. It will be interesting to see what comes of this meeting, especially considering the changes in Merkel’s election program and her recent comments on Trump’s decision to pull the U.S. out of the Paris climate agreement.
Merkel said last week that she and other European leaders plan to make a stand for climate protection during the meeting. She said that Europe is “more determined than ever” to carry out the Paris agreement and added that “it would be dishonest” for her to try and “cover up” her feelings on the matter in front of Trump.
Featured image via Sean Gallup/Getty Images.