Merkel: Germany to continue cultivating relationship with US

Angela Merkel

Merkel: Europe can't rely on US ‘superpower'

Merkel, 64, is facing criticism at home and overseas as she tries to hold together her fractious coalition dogged by infighting over immigration policy while also dealing with Trump and a raft of foreign policy challenges including Brexit.

"I find that meetings between the United States and Russian presidents must return to normality", she said.

Last week, Trump said Germany was wrong to support an $11-billion (£8.4 billion) Baltic Sea pipeline to import even more Russian gas while being slow to meet targets for North Atlantic Treaty Organisation spending - a decision he described as "a horrific thing". Trump expressed particular anger at the pipeline, saying it means Germany is effective "captive" to Russian Federation.

Trump has come under fire following the Helsinki talks for what many saw as his unsettling embrace of the Russian strongman, as well as his seeming disavowal of his own intelligence agencies and their assessment that Moscow meddled in the 2016 election.

Speaking about the meeting between Russian and USA presidents, Merkel said, "I'm happy about every meeting, and it's good when there's talk.It must become normal again for the presidents of the two countries to meet".

But she added that she had been right to say a year ago that Europe could no longer depend on the United States to maintain world order.

"What we assumed for many decades, that the United States is a power that preserves peace - that is no longer a certain factor for the future", she said.

Merkel and Putin spoke by telephone on Friday, a German government spokesman said, without giving details.

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German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Friday warned the USA of counter-measures if it imposed punitive tariffs on European cars, saying the move would only create "losers and cause retaliation", the media reported.

U.S. administration officials have proposed a bilateral trade deal cutting tariffs on cars between the two regions, but European Union officials along with Merkel have said that's not possible under World Trade Organization (WTO) rules.

Pressed by reporters on how she viewed her relationship with Trump in light of his repeated criticism of Germany's asylum policies, defence spending and trade surpluses, a diplomatic Merkel stressed the importance of transatlantic cooperation.

"We don't want these tariffs". "Not just militarily, but also politically", she told her annual summer press conference.

The comments come after a tense North Atlantic Treaty Organisation summit with Trump, who is mulling tariffs on imported Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Porsche vehicles in what would represent a significant escalation in trade tensions.

Asked about Trump's frequent attacks on Germany and her in particular, Merkel responded with deliberately measured calm, saying: 'I take note of it'. "These are demanding times".

But she also warned that Washington could no longer be relied on to deliver world order.

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