German Chancellor Angela Merkel caused concern across Europe when she called into question the reliability of the UK and the USA as allies for the EU.
The election of President Trump and the Brexit vote across the channel has led to calls for further EU integration and mutual defence, as the USA and UK relations with the bloc have become strained.
Indeed, this attack by Merkel at a conference speech to her domestic coalition partner, suggests that popular opinion in European nations is turning away from their traditional Anglosphere allies.
As Trump questions the legitimacy of NATO, and the future of British cooperation with Europe is under literal renegotiation, Merkel stated: “Of course we need to have friendly relations with the US, and with the UK”, before going on to clarify that: “The times in which we can fully count on others are somewhat over, as I have experienced in the past few days.”
She refers here to the G7 meeting, in which the world’s preeminent powers met to discuss the international issues of the day.
Merkelís strong and brazen rhetoric has led to suggestions that the days of American world leadership are drawing to a close under the Trump administration, and that the UK, ever the ally of their cousin across the Atlantic, are happy to follow.
Whether this proves to be a defining moment in Western relations, or little more than political posturing within an increasingly populist Germany, remains to be seen.
That being said, Merkel’s call for Germany to “fight for our own future ourselves, for our destiny as Europeans,” will leave the USA and the UK in little doubt that they have been put on notice.
The debate over the USA’s role in the defence of Europe and their allies is part of a wider readjustment. If Trump shows intention to change the role of the USA, who, until his presidency, acted as the policeman of the world, the realations between countries will inevitably change. Following this development, Germany and its allies in Europe will start looking elsewhere for security.
As for the UK, with Article 50 negotiations just days away, the question of security will weigh heavy on the mind of whomever ends up in Number 10.
For a nation caught between a potentially hostile EU and a USA under the control of an increasingly unpredictable President, Merkel’s words will highlight how swiftly the new Government must decide where their loyalties lie.