Reflecting on the fraught new era of U.S. relations with Germany, and Europe at large, German Chancellor Angela Merkel spoke on Sunday at a beer hall, and contended that her continent-mates “really must take our fate into our own hands.”
Those jitters about already weakening transatlantic alliances were surely heightened as President Trump took to Twitter on Tuesday morning and accused Germany of maintaining a trade imbalance and under-contributing to NATO. Trump has also suggested that he might withdraw the United States from the Paris Agreement on combating climate change, which Merkel has championed.
Merkel on Tuesday reiterated her sense that Europe must seek new alliances, telling reporters in Berlin, “The times in which we can fully count on others are somewhat over, as I have experienced in the past few days.”
“Others,” in this case, seems to be a euphemism; Merkel was clearly talking about the United States.
On Tuesday, Merkel met with Indian Prime Minster Narendra Modi, and on Wednesday she will meet with Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang. Although Merkel has sought to dampen the notion that she wants to pivot Germany and Europe away from the United States and toward Eastern powers, Tuesday's meeting with Modi could not have been more positive and cordial.
“We are meant for each other,” Modi told Merkel, smiling widely.
“India wants the world not just to be interconnected but also that it should be sensibly run,” Merkel said by way of endorsing a trade agreement in the works between India and the European Union.
“Whether it be bilateral relations, humanitarian issues, regional or global issues, every discussion with the chancellor has been very beneficial for me,” Modi said. “The pace of development of our relations is fast, the direction is positive, and the destination is clear. Germany will always find India as a powerful, prepared and capable partner.”
India and Germany are two of the largest economies in the process of trying to implement the Paris Agreement, and Merkel made special note of Modi's demonstrated commitment to solar power. While India is massively expanding its coal production, Modi has pledged to simultaneously grow solar such that it will make up more than half of the world's production by 2022.
The two leaders signed eight agreements pertaining mostly to cooperation on job skills development and environmental issues.