(CNN)Angela Merkel has had enough. Just a day after the perfunctory G7 meeting in Sicily, she returned to Germany and declared to an audience in Munich that the United States and UK are no longer reliable partners, and that the US in particular has “weakened the West” and is out to undermine the European Union. [restrict]
This isn’t the first time Merkel has stepped up to defend Europe’s honor. In a similar speech in January, she warned the United States that it had no “eternal guarantee” of cooperation from Europe.
At a time when Donald Trump is scolding Europeans to pay more for their own defense, he should be careful what he wishes for. A trans-Atlantic divorce — or parting of the ways — has long been in the offing.
Europe’s new found confidence stems partially from Brexit. Brussels, Luxembourg and Berlin have been running circles around London in the Brexit negotiations, throwing British politics into disarray with an election looming.
With the British strategy toward negotiating its exit from the EU a shambles, “old Europe” feels it has cast off England’s yoke that regularly acted against the interests of wider and deeper union.
Merkel reiterates call for Europe to ‘take fate into our own hands’
Then there’s the pro-European results of the Dutch election in March and France’s recent election: another a decisive victory for European unity.
Emmanuel Macron clearly held his own in his first extended handshake with Trump — and made sure to greet Merkel before Trump (or any other head of state) when the leaders assembled in Sicily.
Together, Merkel and Macron implicitly know they are the new Franco-German axis that must, as Merkel said in Munich, “fight for our own future and destiny as Europeans.”
These election results, combined with the eurozone exceeding economic growth expectations this year, mean that it faces little risk of falling apart as so many have been predicting for nearly a decade.
The big question that will dictate the future of Europe is to what extent Merkel gives ground on the strict posture her government has taken toward issues such as Greece’s debt and Italy’s banking sector. [/restrict]