Trump says Berlin must do more for NATO as German FM claims US leader puts Europe at risk

Donald Trump has slammed Berlin over its contribution to NATO and criticized the trade deficit between the two countries, after the German foreign minister claimed the US president’s current policy is weakening the West and putting Europe’s future at risk.

Berlin and Washington have traded barbs over numerous aspects of their relationship in the past few days.

On Tuesday, Trump responded to a barrage of recent statements from Berlin, saying in a tweet: “We have a massive trade deficit with Germany, plus they pay far less than they should on NATO & military. Very bad for US. This will change.”

@realDonaldTrump We have a MASSIVE trade deficit with Germany, plus they pay FAR LESS than they should on NATO & military. Very bad for U.S. This will change

Trump believes that European powers owe much to the US, particularly in the areas of defense and trade. During his election campaign, he consistently said Washington’s allies must shoulder the burden and financially support the US military presence in the region. Additionally, he accused Berlin of exploiting the benefits of American markets and overriding US carmakers.

The president’s tweet was met with caution in Berlin. “Donald Trump makes clear with his tweet that he views Germany as a political opponent,” Thomas Oppermann, head of the Social Democrats' (SPD) parliamentary faction, told reporters on Tuesday.

Martin Schulz, an outspoken Social Democrat and center-left chancellor candidate, said later on Tuesday that Trump was “the destroyer of all Western values.” He added that the US president was undermining peaceful cooperation of nations based on mutual respect and tolerance.

“One must stand in the way of such a man with his ideology of rearmament,” Schulz added.

“The short-sighted policies of the American government stand against the interests of the European Union,” German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel said in Berlin, adding, “the West has become smaller, at least it has become weaker,” he told the Rheinische Post newspaper. 

 
© Jonathan Ernst

In an apparent reference to President Trump, he added that “anyone who accelerates climate change by weakening environmental protection, who sells more weapons in conflict zones and who does not want to politically resolve religious conflicts is putting peace in Europe at risk.”

The foreign minister later echoed previous statements by Chancellor Angela Merkel, who over the weekend sent shockwaves through Western capitals by arguing that Europe cannot rely completely on the US or Britain.

“We Europeans must really take our destiny into our own hands, of course in friendship with the United States, in friendship with Great Britain, with good neighborly relations wherever possible, also with Russia and other countries – but we have to know that we have to fight for our future and our fate ourselves as Europeans,” Merkel said in Munich at an event organized by the Christian Social Union, Bavaria’s sister party of the chancellor’s Christian Democrats.

“The times in which we can fully count on others are somewhat over, as I have experienced in the past few days,” she argued.

On Monday, Merkel clarified her much-debated speech, saying that transatlantic relationships were "of paramount importance" to Berlin, although Europe must also act independently.

"Transatlantic ties are of paramount importance to us... but the current situation gives more reasons for... us to take our destiny in our own hands," said Merkel, as quoted by AFP.

She also stressed that "Europe must become a player active in international affairs.”

The strongly-worded message and the shock it caused prompted Berlin to downplay the tone and content of Merkel’s speech.

snubs for & another arm wrestle follows

Her spokesman, Steffen Seibert, said on Monday the chancellor was a “deeply convinced trans-Atlanticist” who believes in the idea of Western unity.

Later in the day, Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere echoed Seibert’s statements, saying: "I can only say transatlantic cooperation, especially in the security domain, is of paramount significance for our country."

Signs of discord between major European powers and Washington surfaced after the recent G7 summit in Italy. Merkel herself described her diplomatic encounter with the Americans as “very difficult, not to say very unsatisfactory.” Germany and France, two strong advocates of the landmark Paris climate change accords, oppose the Trump administration’s initiative to potentially pull out of the agreement.

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China Pleads for Unity, Prosperity and Stability in European Union

Chinese prime minister, Li Keqiang, advocated for unity, prosperity and stability of the European Union (EU), it transcended here today.

Meeting this Tuesday with the EU representatives for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vicepresident of the European Commission, Federica Mogherini, insisted on the importance given by Beijing to relations with the EU, as well as the EU commitment to comply with its international obligations.

According to the official media, Li asked to work with the EU with a spirit of mutual respect and reciprocal treatment to advance in conversations on the treaty of bilateral investment and in the viability study of the free trade agreement.

We will work with the EU to approach differences in an adequate manner and improve relations China-EU inside the international order based on norms and contribute with vitality to world economic growth, declared the prime minister.

He asked both China and the EU, to adhere the purposes and principles of the United Nations Charter before the complex and changing panorama.

In the Chinese leader's opinion, both parts should send a positive signal to maintain regional stability and world peace, face global challebnges, reform and improve international governance and defend economic globalization and free and just trade to face the uncertainties of the world scenario through stable cooperation between China and the EU.

Mogherini,for her part, consiodered that the EU and China share the responsibiluity of maintaining international order, face global challenges as terrorism, cluimate change and promote world peace and development.

She also stressed that for the EU is vital to maintain the multilateral system and comply with its international obligations.

She asserted that the EU will work with Beijing to strengthen cooperation, tackle adequately the differences and facilitate the progress in negotiations of the treaty on bilateral investments.

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Head of European Diplomacy Highlights Fidel as Historic Figure

The High Representative of the European Union (EU) for Foreign Affairs, Federica Mogherini, has highlighted today Fidel Castro as a historical figure, after sending her condolences to the Cuban government and people for the death of the revolutionary leader.

During the signing ceremoy today in Brussels of the Political Dialogue and Cooperation Agreement between Havana and the community bloc, the Italian diplomat began her speech by sending her most heartfelt condolences to President Raul Castro, Fidel Castro's family, the Cuban Government and people.

Cuban Foreign Minister, Bruno Rodriguez, thanked Mogherini for her words and recalled the iconic leader's hopes that the EU would contribute to the balance of the world and the establishment of a fairer multipolar system.

Cuba and the EU have signed today a Political Dialogue and Cooperation Agreement considered the framework for developing their relationship on the basis of equality, reciprocity and mutual respect.

The figure of Fidel, who passed away on November 25th at the age of 90, was also remembered.

During the last weeks, many tributes have taken place in several countries to show the respect and admiration for the historical leader of the Cuban Revolution.

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Stephen Hawking: ‘The way Britain shares its wealth led to Brexit’

Physics genius Stephen Hawking has called for a reassessment of how wealth is viewed in Britain in the wake of the UK’s vote to exit the European Union.

In an opinion piece for the Guardian newspaper on Friday, Hawking said it would be “foolish to ignore the role that wealth does and doesn’t play in our society” in the aftermath of the June 23 referendum.

The professor, who suffers with motor neuron disease, said although he was stung by the ‘Leave’ vote: “If I’ve learned one lesson in my life it is to make the best of the hand you are dealt.

Now we must learn to live outside the EU, but in order to manage that successfully we need to understand why British people made the choice that they did. I believe that wealth, the way we understand it and the way we share it, played a crucial role in their decision.

He said wealth has an important role in academic terms, as the EU provided grants for science and for him personally in terms of medical care for his severe disability.

New enterprises and “cathedral projects” are now being invested in and more must follow, said Hawking. He described these as “the modern equivalent of the grand church buildings, constructed as part of humanity’s attempt to bridge heaven and Earth.

These ideas are started by one generation with the hope a future generation will take up these challenges.

These could help address a number of “global and serious” issues like “climate change, food production, overpopulation, the decimation of other species, epidemic disease, acidification of the oceans.

Hawking warned that failing to deal with these issues would hand a victory to “the forces that contributed to Brexit, the envy and isolationism not just in the UK but around the world that spring from not sharing.

If we do this, then there is no limit to what humans can achieve together.

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European Union, Cuba to Hold Sixth Round of Negotiations

European Union (EU) and Cuba representatives will meet in Brussels on December 1-2 to hold their 6th round of negotiations on political dialogue and cooperation agreement, Cuban Foreign Ministry said today.


According to an official statement, EU and Cuban delegations will be presided by Christian Leffler Deputy Secretary-General for Economic and Global Issues at European External Action Service and Abelardo Moreno Cuban Deputy Foreign Minister, respectively.

These negotiations began in April 2014 as a result of a EU Foreign Affairs Council decision made on February 10 of the same year to invite Cuba to begin these talks, which was accepted on March 6.

During this process, that opened a new and constructive chapter in the relationships between the two parts, Cuba has reaffirmed its willingness to move forward in the negotiation with the EU on the basis of equality and respect agreed in 2008 when political dialogue and cooperation were re-established, the statement said.

It also added that the previous rounds took place alternately in Havana (first, third and fifth round) and Brussels, Belgium (second and fourth round) in a constructive spirit.

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Cubans in Europe Urge US Congress to Lift Blockade of their Country

Cubans residing in Europe urged the US Congress to lift the economic, commercial and financial blockade that Washington has maintained against their nation for over 50 years now.

At the end of a meeting in Stockholm, the Cuban community in Europe issued a declaration demanding the withdrawal of all legislations and regulations that hinder the lifting of the US siege against Cuba and they backed the real advancement of the normalization of relations between Washington and Havana.

In their declaration, the Cubans residents in Europe agreed that all their organizations in the continent will ask foreign ministers in their respective countries to give statements demanding the lifting of the US blockade along with their positive vote to the Cuban resolution at the UN General Assembly this month.

They also demanded that the so-called European Common Position on Cuba be put down immediately and unconditionally.

A total of one hundred Cubans residing in Europe took part at the 10th Regional Meeting. The 11th gathering will take place in 2016, in Lisbon.

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