Former German Chancellor Gerhard Gerhard Schröder sharply criticized US trade policy, as well as the behavior of the US Ambassador in Berlin, liking his behavior to an “occupation officer.”
He also called for closer German relations with China.
“We cannot put up with being treated like an occupied country,” said the SPD politician. “When I look at the actions of the American ambassador in Germany, I have the impression that he sees himself more as an occupation officer than as an ambassador of the United States in a sovereign state.”
Thus, according to Schröder, Germany must look for allies with similar interests.
“It is inevitable that those who are affected by the conflicts that emanate from the United States should come closer together,” said the former Chancellor. “We cannot stand up as part of an American trade dispute with China, rather we must resolutely fulfill our export interests in the Chinese market.”
The US trade dispute with China also affects German companies. US President Donald Trump accuses China of unfair trade practices and is bothered by the large deficit in trade with the People’s Republic. The leadership in Beijing rejects the allegations and accuses the United States of “trade tyranny.”
Schröder warned the federal government against foreclosing Germany against Chinese investors.
“What speaks against, if you have a Chinese investor who not only has a financial interest, but also brings something, namely improved opportunities for the company in the Chinese market?” He asked. “For me, there is really only one limit, the limit exists where military equipment is concerned.”
He also claimed that the German government is currently leading a desperate fight against protectionist currents in the US. “That’s why we should avoid anything that puts us in a similarly bad light, which cannot help us.”
The former chancellor’s words also come while there are rising calls for the creation of an EU army.
They were first voiced by French President Emmanuel Macron. He said said he wanted to reduce Europe’s dependence on the US and US weapons for its own security. Trump called Macron’s idea “very insulting,” tweeting that Europe should “first pay its fair share of NATO, which the US subsidises greatly.”
German Chancellor Angela Merkel also supported the idea of an EU army. During a European parliament session, she emphasized the need for Europe to bolster its self-defense capabilities, and said that a European army could run parallel to NATO.
A spokesperson for the commission’s president Jean-Claude Juncker said he was “pleased” that the argument for the force seemed to be “going in our direction.”
The speaker also said that Juncker was the first person to speak about an EU army four years ago. “Let me clarify that the first one who spoke about the EU army four years ago was someone called Jean-Claude Juncker.”
However, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte remained a skeptic. He claimed that the region’s security can only be guaranteed through NATO.
“The idea of a European army is going way too far for the Netherlands,” he said. “France and Germany are really jumping the gun. As far as the Netherlands is concerned, NATO remains the cornerstone of our defense policy.”
China also did not condemn the idea of an EU army, however reiterated that it has never posed a threat to Europe.
China’s foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said: “We have never posed a threat to Europe. It [Europe] has the right to decide its own foreign and defense policies.”
The EU army is still simply a concept, and it is uncertain if it will happen. However, it is apparent that voices are appearing in the EU that will openly criticize Washington’s policy in the region. Most significantly those voices posses executive power. It is also evident that the US sees Europe as a sort of battleground against Russia, mostly disregarding the EU interests.
However, it is also easy to see that in the case of a war Europe is the region who arguably stands to lose the most.