Europe needs to forge its own destiny. That was the message from German Chancellor Angela Merkel following a frustrating G7 summit in Sicily.

Speaking on her return to Germany, she declared that the traditional Western alliance has been damaged following Brexit and the election of a more isolationist US President, arguing that “the times in which we can fully count on others are somewhat over, as I have experienced in the past few days.”

Merkel was referring to the difficulty in getting the US to reaffirm its commitment to the Paris Climate Change deal. She told reporters that the “entire discussion about climate [with Donald Trump] was very difficult, if not to say very dissatisfying.”

The Chancellor has also been encouraged by the election of Emmanuel Macron in France, a confirmed pro-European and economic liberal. Some even believe that the Franco-German engine of European integration might finally be restarted, possibly providing a counterpoint to Anglo-American power.

Can Europe still rely on the US and UK? Is the traditional Western alliance under threat? Let us know your thoughts and comments in the form below and we’ll take them to policymakers and experts for their reactions!

IMAGE CREDITS: CC / Flickr – Italian G7 Presidency 2017


115 comments Post a commentcomment

What do YOU think?

    • Tarquin Farquhar

      @Alfredo Iannuzzi
      Of course we can!

      No EU leader has been sucking up to the German leader like Chamberlain did with Hitler.

      WAIT! What about Macron’s obsequiousness to Merkel?

      GULP!

    • Jose Quintans

      Someone must lead.
      We can discuss about the direction, but while the EU has no enough power to drive, we need a fuhrer.

    • Tony Çk

      Isolated? More like improvement I’d say.

    • Matej Zaggy Zagorc

      Because focusing on growing your own economy more than relying on foreign companies and work force is being isolated??
      Then again you have a sheep with a “solidarity” watermark as your picture, shouldn’t expect much.

    • Rémi Martin

      Le développement des peuples s’assure en faisant des échanges avec les autres, pas en restant pour soi, ceci depuis le début de l’humanité! Ensuite, un conseil, ne fais pas trop attention aux images, tu tires trop vite de fausses conclusions!

    • Jose Quintans

      @Rémi, none wants to be on the weak side of a relationship. Do you?
      And do not reply with Disney philosophy statements on equality.

    • Marian Rodu

      at least they are less stupid than US and UK political leaders.

    • Zille Vuk

      You think so!!!! Look better around.

    • Rémi Martin

      Leaders who were never elected by peoples, but it’s called democracy, probably the best rukling system for somes!

  1. Boerge R. Jensen

    Yes, the traditional Western alliance is under threat for a very reasonable reason.
    Both the U.S. and UK have significant deficit on the trade balances with other members of the EU.

    The U.S. has a large public debt, too, but still pays most of the expenses in Nato despite the fact that only five members of the EU have a higher public debt to gdp than the U.S., and the EU has about the same gdp than the U.S: To make matters worse from an U.S. perspective, governments in some European members of Nato spent much money and efford on exports to the U.S.and Asia.

    It was very difficult making president Obama commit the U.S. to the Paris climate change deal, too. The Clean Power Plan was not announced until August 2015, and removed again in March, 2017. The policy of president Trump is the normal one on that topic.

    From my point of view, the traditional Western alliance is under threat from the fact that you can not fool strong opponents on their own expenses for eternity. Some day they either fight or leave you.

    • Jose Quintans

      US gets a much bigger bang for every borrowed dollar.
      If your GDP grows faster than your debt, where is the limit for your debt/GDP ratio?

      And it is easier for them to export inflation thanks to the petro-dollar system.
      Remember Sadam Hussein’s proposal to trade oil in Euros, as an attempt to access international markets?… And what happened then?

      That’s one reason to Europe to rely only on itself.

    • Daryl French

      What a ridiculous comment. This is the convoluted language of the left, where giving a recipient less is somehow equated to taking from the recipient.
      In terms of EU; what has been the UK’s contribution over the years? Have they been a net payer or receiver of funds? I suspect there are Members States that have NEVER made a net contribution to the EU budget.
      Now, there’s a separate argument to be had about the value of such an arrangement, but to describe the UK as taking is petulant. They’re chosen to stop giving, not start taking.

    • James-Stuart A H Duffin

      The UK has been a major recipient of EU funds, which it never used wisely. The UK is moribund: socially and economically. Let’s hope the 8th of June begins the process of disintegration!

    • Stephen Pockley

      Taking ? We have been net contributors to the EU for 40 odd years , how is that taking FFS.

    • Stephen Pockley

      James-Stuart A H Duffin that comment of yours just proves your limited understanding/intelligence of our place in the EU.

    • Dean Clarkson

      James-Stuart A H Duffin is either a Troll or a total Moron, i can’t quite make my mind up.

    • Tarquin Farquhar

      @James-Stuart A H Duffin
      FYI, many countries like France and Germany are FREELOADERS when it comes to the defence of many EU nations in NATO!

    • Tarquin Farquhar

      @Dean Clarkson
      Methinks ‘moronic troll’ would perhaps be a more appropriate monicker for the aforementioned…

  2. Bart Van Damme

    Not much has changed in this respect. I suspect that Merkel merely wants to use this as an excuse to de-democratize Europe even further, turning it into an even farther above our heads political monster with Germany at the reins.

    • Tarquin Farquhar

      @Bart Van Damme
      I fear you are 100% correct.

  3. Mohammad Azher

    She is absolutely right. EU doesn’t require anemy neiher requires to pay other countries to defend Eu. EU 2% contributions mean $280 billions in USA pokets. $280 Billions is a lot of amount. Russian spends $60billions, chinese $150 billions anually. EU can have powerful enough army in $280billions of annually spending. Besides $280 would create EU arm industry. Like US and UK Russians, chinese making billions after selling arms to Other countries, bringing financial benifits for European unions. EU must stand on their feets rather beings in wheel chais

    • Telmo Viana Vaz

      Well, each country should pay its fair share. USA isn’t the bad guy for wanting them to follow the rules and USA shouldn’t be paying for others luxuries.

    • Tarquin Farquhar

      Mohammad Azher
      Please kindly provide references for your figures. Thank you.

    • Nick Flowerdew

      In two years we will do then you can pay not haha

    • Rémi Martin

      Dear neighbor, I think we pay enough in this useless union, no?

    • Jose Quintans

      Now that we can move the EU project forward there is no reason to bully UK, they are Europeans, a great part of our history was written together with them, for the good and the bad, and I want them back once the EU army and defense industry are strong.

  4. Savas Ozyurt

    We need to look into ‘what if’ cases. What if US turns hostile towards the EU and tries to grab all the assets and money of EU citizens and institutions, in the form of investment scams wherein you are lured to invest but you can’t get your funds out, or in any other form of aggression? UK and US are already doing this.

    • Tarquin Farquhar

      @Savas Ozyurt
      Please add ‘little green men’ to your rabid assertion.

  5. Ralf Grahn

    A democratic and strong (Republic of) Europe is always the best option for us Europeans and, I believe, the world.

    • Tarquin Farquhar

      @Ralf Grahn
      But most of the best nations in Europe are NOT republics, why should they be coerced into a lesser form of democracy?

      Just look at corrupt France or the corrupt USA for examples of the weakness of the ‘Republic’ political system.

    • Jose Quintans

      Cheers!

  6. Yannick Cornet

    Nobody can rely on plutocrats for anything. Their purpose is to remove all barriers to enrich themselves and their (global) plutocrat friends. They do not have per se a social agenda. They are not per se ‘fascists’ or anything. They are just in it for their own interest. Seen from this angle Trump’s actions are easily explained. And so the answer is a clear no: we cannot count on Trump for any kind of political progress unless we are lucky enough that it matches his (direct and hidden) interests.

    • Tarquin Farquhar

      @Henrique Saias
      Really?

    • Rémi Martin

      Do you think France is ruling something? Really?

    • Thomas Beavitt

      No, but Germany is, and French people voted for Macron to continue to be part of that.

  7. Christos Mouzeviris

    Why did it ever rely on other powers and not on itself is the question. Because of the inner constant wars and bickering, that weakened our countries and we fell under the rule/supervision/control of the Anglosaxons in the West and the Soviets/Russians in the East. The solution for this never to happen again? A form of unification of Europe to take control of our affairs and destiny. But this has to happen on equal terms, not one nation dominating the union, (aka Germany) or it will follow the Soviet and Yugoslav destiny: disintegration!

    • Tarquin Farquhar

      @Christos Mouzeviris
      With the UK leaving, rump-EU WILL be dominated by Germany UNLESS Germany’s demographic decline is halted by swift mass-immigration.

  8. João Ribeiro

    No projecto Europeu não pode existir Nações a liderar, todas a Nações europeias em gerigonça política para se chegar a um consenso no final uma só voz, a da Europa. O projecto europeu tem de ser mais eficaz com nos problemas de cada estado membro, nos debates tem de existir fraternidade, solidariedade, respeito entre Nações, educação saúde, igualdade de tratamento, ambiente, segurança comum e desenvolvimento sustentável. PAZ.

    • Jose Quintans

      Someone must lead, we cannot wait for Spain or Portugal for example to dedicate enough money and political will as the Germans or French can.
      Germany and France must be “a ponta de lança da Europa”.

      Fraternity is not opposed to that, I accept now their lead, for the sake of all the Europeans.

      Solidarity and equality in the decission table is possible for many non-critical issues for our future.

      Respect is by default as we are all Europeans, but must make an effort to keep up with the European nation project needs.

    • Jose Quintans

      It is only when we are at the edge of the cliff that we evolve.

      Love and trust your European brothers and sisters. We made great history, we are the best doing good and bad things.

  9. Twana Bahman

    Europe ,especially the West Part of Europe needs USA and you know that ! Germany ,French and England have different intetrests and they can not build that optimal Unity !

    • Rémi Martin

      Today, years ago France voted NO against EU, nice birthday, isn’t it?

  10. Dagmar Ueberfeld-Lang

    Does Europe have an idea what it means when it says: “relying on …”? Relying on what, exactly? That the US will forever be their shelter against Russia? That we still stand united should one country be attacked by another? Then that answer is probably No. Much deeper problems are coming to the surface, however. A US administration who believes that many countries in Europe still haven’t exhibited enough gratitude for saving them from Nazi Germany more than 70 years ago. A country unwilling to accept that the migration crisis which swept over Europe more recently is the consequence of failed US military intervention in the Middle Easts. Europe will need to develop its own strategy and stand on its own, in particular in a time when diplomacy will take a back seat under this new administration and the power of weapons will speak louder. The weapons Saudi Arabia just bought in the billions of $$$ from the US will be put to use, sadly, and will drown out any attempt to return to diplomacy. One can only hope that Europe firmly stays away from that.

  11. EU Reform- Proactive

    It may depend!

    Basics: I might have double vision- counting 9 persons within the international G7 group? Who are these 2 gatecrashers? Of course all know! Four are definite “EU national leaders” and 3 are international ones. The previous “eighth” has been “banned” (Crimea)- being too “naughty for the EU”! What functions- have- or should have the 2 remaining persons in the G7?

    Referrals by top national EU leaders like “EUROPE needs to forge its own destiny”, or EUROPE this and EUROPE that- is a bit ambitious & confusing- or?

    Who is qualified to speak on behalf of EUROPE (CoE 49)?

    Either, the G4 EU national leaders speak on behalf of their own nations, the G7 appoint a speaker to speak on behalf of ALL 7, or the EU agrees before hand to speak on behalf of the EU 4. Final option- everyone speaks on his own behalf.

    What shall it be? Please, make up your minds! A dilemma?

    • Jose Quintans

      Franco-German Axis shall lead until we have a strong EU level leadership.

      It is true that Germany and France will tend to put their interests first, but they lead exports and investments, so it is OK enough for all the followers, as long they put also strong focus on keeping the internal market in good shape, and all the European partners are respected.

  12. James Beckles

    Britain’s withdrawal from the EU is not a withdrawal from Europe, merely the institutions that make up the bloc. If the EU cannot rely on the UK and US does that include the troops and equipment both countries have in Eastern Europe to defend against a possible Russian incursion or invasion. The speak by Merkel is unhelpful and should have focused more on what the EU has to offer Europe.

    • Jose Quintans

      Russia leadership is entitled to be very assertive, also US, and UK, while Europe has a lot to do in that regard. I agree with you on your last point, except that those kind of statements shall be broadcasted by EU leaders, not national level leaders, as a mean to shift political will and public awareness.

  13. Ginster Plantagenet

    if Europe comes closer together, the better. Maybe the current incidents get them together and finally create a Union. Trump is unreliable and UK has a different agenda.

  14. Rob Eastham

    There is an issue with this premise of this question.

    Despite Churchills pleadings, the US did not want to enter WW2 thus honouring its alliances with Britain or France, and they only reluctantly entered the war after the Pearl Harbour attacks.

    Since the war, Western policy has been driven by democratic ideology which sees all states who are not democracies to be a threat.

    If we consider that Russia was our ally from the beginning of the war and until the end (not forgetting the horrific sacrifice of 20m Russians), why is it we are so fearful of a former ally who actually helped us and too quick to rely on an ally who historically has been slow to help us.

    It’s interesting to note this question has only arisen because President Trump asked members of the NATO alliance to start making financial contributions in their own defence.

    • Jose Quintans

      Ask Britons about USA role after WWII and the outcome for UK.

      Besides that, you have seen too much American propaganda.

  15. Stefania Portici

    invece noi possiamo contare sulla Germania ? In questi anni ha creato fratture enormi con i suoi partner dettate non dal buon senso ma dal suo egoismo di interessi economici. Eh….

    • Miguel Palma

      So true, Germany’s leadership is the real menace. Merkel seems to have converted to Islam.

    • Jose Quintans

      USA created a great mess in the borders of Europe.

      Irak, Libia, Egipt (close call), Siria.

      We shall be able to defend our own interests.

      Merkel got crazy, I used to respect her a lot.

  16. Zille Vuk

    Islam is not a religion, nor is it a cult. In its fullest form, it is a complete, total, 100% system of life. Islam has religious, legal, political, economic, social, and military components. The religious component is a beard for all of the other components.
    Islamization begins when there are sufficient Muslims in a country to agitate for their religious privileges.
    When politically correct, tolerant, and culturally diverse societies agree to Muslim demands for their religious privileges, some of the other components tend to creep in as well..

    Here’s how it works:
    As long as the Muslim population remains around or under 2% in any given country, they will for the most part be regarded as a peace-loving minority, and not as a threat to other citizens.
    It is a trick. At 2% to 5%, they begin to proselytize from other ethnic
    minorities and disaffected groups, often with major
    recruiting from the jails and among street gangs. From 5% on, they exercise an inordinate influence in proportion to their percentage of the population.

    For example, they will push for the introduction of halal food (clean by Islamic standards), thereby securing food preparation jobs for
    Muslims.They will increase pressure on supermarket chains to feature halal on their shelves — along with threats for failure to comply.
    At this point, they will work to get the ruling government
    to allow them to rule themselves (within their ghettos)
    under Sharia, the Islamic Law.
    The ultimate goal of Islamists is to establish Sharia law
    over the entire world.
    When Muslims approach 10% of the population, they tend to
    increase lawlessness as a means of complaint about their conditions.
    In Paris, we are already seeing car-burnings. Any non Muslim
    action offends Islam, and results in uprisings and threats, such as in Amsterdam, with opposition to Mohammed cartoons
    and films about Islam. Such tensions are seen daily, particularly in Muslim sections. FRANCE

    After reaching 20%, nations can expect hair-trigger rioting,
    jihad militia formations, sporadic killings, and the burnings of Christian churches and Jewish synagogues. Think what is going on in Turkey now, after the so called coupe attempt.
    At 40%, nations experience widespread massacres, chronic terror attacks,
    From 60%, nations experience unfettered persecution of non-believers of all other religions (including non-conforming Muslims), sporadic ethnic cleansing (genocide), use of Sharia Law as a weapon, and Jizya, the tax placed on infidels.
    After 80%, expect daily intimidation and violent
    jihad, some
    State-run ethnic cleansing, and even some genocide, as these
    nations drive out the infidels, and move toward 100% Muslim.
    Can a Muslim be a good American?
    Theologically – no, because his allegiance is to Allah.
    Religiously – no, because no other religion is accepted by His Allah except Islam (Qur’an 2:256).
    Scripturally – no, because his allegiance is to the five Pillars of Islam and the Qur’an.
    Geographically – no, because his allegiance is to Mecca, to which he turns in prayer five times a day.
    Socially – no, because his allegiance to Islam forbids him to make friends with Christians or Jews.
    Politically – no, because he must submit to the mullahs (spiritual leaders) who teach the annihilation of Israel and the destruction of America, the great Satan.
    Domestically – no, because he is instructed to marry four Women and beat his wife when she disobeys him

    • EU Reform- Proactive

      Although Zille’s presentation is off topic under the specif forum question, it remains however a very popular & worrying issue within most indigenous folks. Unfortunately avoided like a hot potato by our national & supranational EU representatives!

      They of course have “more important” issues to attend than to preserve & protect all EU citizens in compliance with our existing EU & UN Humans Right culture. And NOT accommodate silently all (~45 countries) who are subscribers and signatories to the Cairo Declaration of Human Right in Islam.

      It would deserve urgent and honest interrogation by all forward looking & thinking EU politicians & other great minds. Can one assume “somebody” in the EU leadership will muster enough courage (before it is too late) to address these points- sooner than later? Come on- show grit & leadership!

    • Jose Quintans

      Not addressable issue at EU or national level until it is almost to late.

      Remember Viena 9/11.

  17. catherine benning

    D.E.That message you sent to me about typing too fast is rubbish and you know it. Tell the truth, what I wrote does not suit your agenda.

  18. Edita Buržinskaitė

    UK is also Europe, we should try to maintain good relations with them in any case. As for the USA, hell no. The only thing you can trust them to do is stab you in the back.

    • Jose Quintans

      Love and strenght for all European brothers and sisters.

  19. Patrick Bizet

    Definitely, this is an opportunity given by U.K and US for Europe to step up.
    Good relations, as much as possible,indeed, no one wants a war I believe, do not remove the fact that they both play for themselves. They want everything for free.
    Hopefully more unity against the new challenges, a better collaboration between the countries, north to south, west to east,.. how to reach this point? Don’t we need a real strong, directive European government? May be this the time to create the United Countries of Europe ? Would we have the momentum?

    Anyway, what should be the response of Europe, and behind it the 200 other countries which committed actions in Paris? US want to do their business under their conditions. What if, we citizens of the world, we just say keep your products, we do not need them? What if the next trade negotiations starts with 30% carbon tax on every import? And reduced only thanks to positive measured results? I think I read that US has the highest carbon foot print per person. That would be a good measure, no? I am pretty sure that the same number in China is dropping quickly when the US number might become stable if not going up.

    Back to U.K., I am pretty sure they are going to come back. They are realizing that they are moving to the wrong direction. They will not be able to recreate the empire, this is over, and then they are too small, especially with their now US centric poor ally. A new vote would inverse brexit, but indeed the conservatives will not ask for it.

    • Jose Quintans

      I also want the UK back, and believe this is a great opportunity for Europe to evolve.

  20. Jokera Jokerov

    No, they are totally unreliable. Most reliable ar Turkey and ISIS, as Russia turned out to be unreliable also. Don`t you see the old pre-World War coalitions building up? Who stays with Germany loses at the end of the day. Alliances with Germany ruined Austria-Hungary and the Ottomans in WW1, later they ruined Italy and Japan as Great Powers. Now the bell tolls for France.

    • Jose Quintans

      My honor was loyalty.
      Love and strenght for all European brothers and sisters.

  21. kevin

    Of course Europe can rely on The UK and The US , more the question is can The UK and the US rely on Europe ?

  22. Karolina

    The UK definitely is an unreliable partner apart from the fact that it is plunged in instability right now. The US is a comedy show these days…

  23. Aiichiro Yamamoto

    It’s better to say good bye to Ango-Saxons who have sown all the seeds of conflicts of the world.

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