Germany Looks Past an Unpredictable U.S. in Setting EU’s Future

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said Europe will have to forge a path without the U.S. on foreign policy matters, irrespective of whether President Donald Trump wins a second term or not.

Germany’s six-month presidency of the European Union from July 1 will include preparation for the outcome of the American election, involving a transatlantic agenda for “a new Biden administration or a second Trump administration,” Maas said in prepared remarks in Berlin on Monday.

“Regardless of who wins the elections in November, though, we will have to think about how to better contain the conflicts in Europe’s vicinity, even without the U.S.,” Germany’s top diplomat said.

Transatlantic relations have plumbed new lows during the last three years, with the U.S. announcing last week that it could impose tariffs on $3.1 billion of products from Germany and other European countries over a trade dispute. In addition to rejecting the Paris climate accord and the Iran nuclear agreement, Trump also said he would withdraw U.S. troops from Germany because Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government is “delinquent” on defense spending.

During a video conference with her EU counterparts this month, Merkel cited the U.S. election as a risk factor for the bloc, according to an official familiar with her comments. And as Trump’s political situation grows increasingly unpredictable in the run-up to the election, Merkel is preparing for American foreign policy to become even more provocative.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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