Merkel explains claim that Europe can no longer rely on U.S.

She made those comments, which sent shock waves through Washington, after Trump criticised major North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies over their military spending and refused to endorse a global climate change accord at back-to-back summits last week.

After the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and G7 summits, Merkel said at an election rally in southern Germany that "the times in which we could completely depend on others are on the way out".

He referred to the "loss of the U.S.as an important nation" and said that while it was important to maintain dialogue with Washington, Europe needed to become stronger and Germany needed to be more prepared to work with its European Union peers. "Of course in friendship with the United States of America, of course in friendship with Great Britain".

"It doesn't have to be this way, a vote for the Liberal Democrats can change Britain's future and we can avoid this extreme Brexit that Theresa May is pursuing", he said.

By making clear that Germany may have to distance itself from Trump, she is protecting her domestic flank and reframing the defence spending issue: no longer is it about fulfilling Trump's wishes, but about building a European defence capacity independent of the United States.

Concerns over trade among developed markets have increased over the past year after the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union last June and Republican Donald Trump became U.S. President in November, partly on a protectionist agenda. Although relations between Washington and Europe have been strained at times since 1945, before Trump there has rarely been such a strong feeling from European leaders that they must turn away from Washington and prepare to face the world alone.

On Thursday, Trump had tough words for German trade behind closed doors.

"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 other neighbours wherever possible, also with Russian Federation", she continued.

Speaking after the summits, Merkel had said that she was sad the G7 statement did not speak out more strongly about the need to help refugees, an omission many have laid at Trump's feet. "Trump accelerates it, but it was to be expected".Merkel's challenger for the chancellor job in September elections told public broadcaster ARD later today that the answer to Trump's go-it-alone approach is for European countries to bond ever closer together.US President Donald Trump, right, can't be relied upon, according to German Chancellor Angela Merkel, left. "At least we have something in common perhaps", Trump said, alluding to his unsubstantiated claims that the phones in Trump Tower were tapped by the previous administration.

"This is going to be the most important negotiation that this country has embarked on for many decades".

Germany unleashed a volley of criticism Monday against US President Donald Trump, slamming his "short-sighted" policies that have "weakened the West" and hurt European interests. "Hard work but big results!" The two leaders were seen enjoying a walk in the extensive lawns of the 18th Century Schloss Meseberg, Chancellor Merkel's official country retreat.

German opposition leader Martin Schulz accused Mr Trump of having tried to "humiliate" Mrs Merkel in Brussels.

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