Merkel vows compromise with US on trade, military spending

BERLIN: German Chancellor Angela Merkel vowed on Saturday to seek compromises on issues like trade and military spending with US President Donald Trump, adding she would work on preserving the important relationship between Europe and the United States.  “He made his convictions clear in his inauguration speech,” Merkel said in remarks broadcast live, a day after Trump vowed to put ‘America first’.  Speaking at a news conference in the south-western town of Schoental, Merkel struck a more conciliatory tone towards Trump than Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel, who on Friday said Germany should prepare for a rough ride under the new US president.

Relations with the United States, Germany’s biggest trading partner, are likely to be a hot topic in electioneering in coming months leading to a general election in September. “I say two things with regards to this (speech): first, I believe firmly that it is best for all of us if we work together based on rules, common values and joint action in the international economic system, in the international trade system, and make our contributions to the military alliances,” Merkel said.

The conservative German leader, who is seeking a fourth term and enjoyed a close relationship with former president Barack Obama, is seen by liberals across the Atlantic as a voice of reason that counterbalances rising populist parties in Europe. Trump has criticised Merkel’s decision in 2015 to throw open Germany’s borders to asylum seekers fleeing wars and conflicts.  “And second, the trans-Atlantic relationship will not be less important in the coming years than it was in past years. And I will work on that. Even when there are different opinions, compromises and solutions can be best found when we exchange ideas with respect,” added Merkel.  — Reuters