by Tim Korso

 However, the minister admitted that under President Donald Trump, relations between the EU and the US have become increasingly complicated due to Washington’s newfound tendency to make major decisions without consulting with its allies.

Germany’s Foreign Minister Heiko Maas has expressed scepticism about the idea that relations between European nations and the US will improve if Democratic candidate Joe Biden wins the November election. Maas explained that the US foreign and security policies have been changing in recent years regarding the obligations Washington took upon itself during the Cold War.

The foreign minister said that Europe should be ready for the trend not to change with a new administration and thus EU nations must assume more responsibilities than before. At the same time, Maas admitted that the transatlantic relations became more complicated with the arrival of Donald Trump in the White House.

“Again and again, [Washington] made decisions that we could not understand without any prior consultation. The vivid example is the [US] withdrawal from the nuclear deal with Iran”, Maas said.

The minister expressed hope that regardless of who wins the 3 November election in the US, the situation will change.

Downward Spiral in EU-US Relations

EU leaders have repeatedly noted that relations between European countries and the US have deteriorated over the past few years. Not only have Washington and Brussels imposed mutual tariffs and taxes on each other over trade disagreements, but the US has also pressured its European NATO allies to increase their defence spending.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, U.S. President Donald Trump and British Prime Minister Theresa May, front row from left, watch a fly-by during a summit of heads of state and government at NATO headquarters in Brussels Wednesday, July 11, 2018. NATO leaders gather in Brussels for a two-day summit to discuss Russia, Iraq and their mission in Afghanistan. 

Trump has pressured the US’ NATO allies to meet the voluntary spending goal of 2% of GDP on defence, reportedly threatening to withdraw from the military alliance otherwise. As a response to Germany’s reluctance to meet the spending target, Trump decided to slash the number of US troops deployed in the country by 6,000. This decision, along with Washington’s previous statements, has sparked discussion among EU states about whether they can continue to rely on the US in terms of European security and defence.

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