- Donald Trump has provoked a new clash with Germany as relations with the United States’ European allies continue to deteriorate.
- The Trump administration sought to exclude the European Union from talks over the future of Serbia and Kosovo.
- The move has been seen as a deliberate snub to German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
- It comes after Trump announced plans to withdraw thousands of troops from Germany.
- German politicians reacted with fury to Trump’s decisions and questioned the future of the transatlantic alliance.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
President Trump is putting relations with the United States’ European allies under severe strain after a series of clashes with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
European Union officials are “furious” with the Trump administration, Bloomberg reported on Wednesday, after the president moved to shut Germany and the rest of the EU out of upcoming talks between Serbia and Kosovo.
The German Chancellor had played a leading role in trying to broker reconciliation between the two countries.
However, the EU’s diplomat for Balkan negotiations, Miroslav Lajcak, only learned about the decision to exclude Europe from the talks while he was on his way to Kosovo, and was not invited to the meeting in Washington later this month, Bloomberg reports.
Three officials involved in the negotiations told Bloomberg that the decision of the Trump administration to exclude the EU from the meeting ignored years of work by Merkel and others.
The latest snub to the US’ European allies comes shortly after the president announced plans to withdraw 9,500 US troops from the country branding it “delinquent” in its defence spending.
Johann Wadephul, a senior figure in Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union party, reacted angrily to the move this week, telling Bloomberg: We expect our leading ally to act as a model, with orientation and balance — not maximum pressure.
“You don’t treat partners like this.”
In a separate interview with Forbes, Wadephul suggested that this latest flashpoint between Washington and Berlin would force Germany and the rest of Europe to loosen their historically-close ties with the US.
“For us Europeans, this is one more wake-up call to take our destiny with regard to security policy more decisively into our own hands”, he said.
US-German relations could be ‘severely affected’
Wadephul is just the latest ally of Merkel to publicly criticise Trump’s decision in strong terms.
Peter Beyer, Germany’s Coordinator of Transatlantic Cooperation, earlier this month said the decision to remove troops was “completely unacceptable, especially since nobody in Washington thought about informing its NATO ally Germany in advance.”
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Beyer warned that “the German-US relationship could be severely affected by such a decision from the US president.”
Trump’s move was reportedly in retaliation for Merkel’s refusal to attend a planned meeting of the G7 in Washington this month.
Trump postponed the summit and said he would expand the meeting to include Russian President Vladimir Putin, in another apparent snub to Germany.
Even the more cautiously-spoken politicians in Germany publicly admit that relations between Berlin and Washington are being tested by Trump’s approach to Europe.
Responding to Trump’s plan to remove troops earlier this month, German foreign minister Heiko Maas said that while the two countries have long been “close partners in the transatlantic alliance,” the current situation is now “complicated.”
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