Opinion: Turning point in a beer tent? | Opinion | DW | 29.05.2017
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Opinion: Turning point in a beer tent?

The German chancellor did not mince words after the G7 fiasco, saying 'the times when we could fully rely on others are somewhat over.' Is the transatlantic relationship over? Dagmar Engel takes a closer look.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, the most powerful female leader in the world, has made waves across the Atlantic. Her words have sparked heated debate on whether or not we have reached an historical turning point in German-American relations. The intensity of the media reaction possibly surprised the Chancellor, even though she did nothing but state the obvious. Whatever traits may be attributed to US President Donald Trump, reliability isn't one of them.

- Merkel: Europe can no longer rely on US and UK

- How the world reacted to Merkel's pivot on Europe

This is election year

To be precise, she wasn't only speaking in her role as the German chancellor. Her comments also reflected her position as the leader of the Christian Democrats (CDU) on the campaign trail. Merkel spoke after the frustration of this weekend's G7 summit, knowing full well that any criticism of the US, and particularly Donald Trump, would go down well with voters in Germany. Her main opponents in the election, the Social Democrats, have been playing this card for a while now. Both have rediscovered Europe as a counterweight.

The discovery of Europe

Dagmar Engel

DW's Dagmar Engel

Trump and Brexit - the shockwaves caused by the recent decisions in the US and Britain provided a wake-up call to the citizens of Europe. A pro-European stance can even be the basis for winning an election against populist opponents, as Emmanuel Macron recently proved in France. The opportunity to strengthen the European Union and continue its development was never as clear as now. And a unified EU is a force to be reckoned with.

This does not necessarily mean Angela Merkel will be turning her back on the US any time soon. Even her dissatisfaction with the climate policies of the American president is not enough for her to call the entire alliance with the US into question, especially when you consider her personal history as someone from formerly communist East Germany. The apocalypse has not arrived. And it won't be arriving in six weeks at the G20 summit in Hamburg. Now everyone has been warned that "the times in which we can fully count on others are somewhat over." In other words, Merkel is saying that the G20 summit may not be a gigantic success.

More opinion: G7 - waiting for better times

The apocalypse is canceled

The best advice is to just keep calm. And if you need some reassuring words, be sure that the CDU party leader and German chancellor would never announce a turning point in world relations at a conservative campaign event in a beer tent. This government leader has too much class to stoop that low.

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