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German defense minister: US and Europe must work together

November 3, 2020

German Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer has said the US and Europe must cooperate whatever the outcome of US elections. She warned of security threats from both Russia and China.

Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer
Image: Getty Images/S. Gallup

German Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer said on Monday that whoever won the upcoming US presidential elections, the US and Europe had to continue to cooperate to defend Western values in the face of several threats.

"However the election turns out, only the US and Europe together can keep the West strong in view of Russia's obvious exercise of power and China's ambitions of global domination," she told the media outlet Redaktionsnetzwerk Deutschland.

"We should defend the liberal values that the US, more than anyone else, has historically helped establish in Germany as well," said Kramp-Karrenbauer, who is also the leader of Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservative Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party.

She said that Germany remained dependent on the strategic protection of the US, but warned that at the same time, both Germany and Europe had to become "much more active promoters of the Western order."

Read more: US election: Germany wants 'new deal' after vote

Ready to deal with 'every reality'

Her remarks were echoed by Germany's vice chancellor, Olaf Scholz, who has been chosen by his center-left Social Democratic Party to run for chancellor in the country's next general elections.

Scholz, who is also finance minister, told broadcasters RTL and n-tv that Germany would have to deal with "every reality" that came out of the US election.

Olaf Scholz speaking
Scholz said Germany would have to cope with whatever result the US election hadImage: Michael Kappeler/dpa/picture alliance

"There are many men and women in power in this world who do not march in the same direction as us," Scholz said, But if he were to become chancellor, he said, he would "work together with all those who are in power in the world, but make it clear that we are a country that stands for democracy and freedom and that wants a strong European Union."

In a veiled reference to current US President Donald Trump, Scholz said that "common ideas about democracy and justice" had been called into doubt by a type of politics centered on "America first," a central tenet of many of Trump's policies.

Read more:  From North Korea to Middle East: Donald Trump's diplomacy evaluated

Closely watched elections

The US elections, which pit the Republican candidate Trump against his Democrat rival, Joe Biden, take place on Tuesday.

Many European allies of the US have been concerned at moves by the Trump administration that have seemed to undermine the world order established in the aftermath of World War Two.

Among other things, Trump has been outspoken in his view that Germany and other European nations have not contributed enough to NATO and has even reportedly cast doubt on the US' continued membership of the alliance.

The German Economy and the US Elections

tj/aw (AFP, dpa)