Offering joint security in a crisis‑stricken world. Safeguarding hundreds of thousands of jobs through close economic cooperation. Maintaining a friendship which has grown over the decades. There is no lack of good reasons to champion the European‑American partnership. That is why Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel travelled to the United States on Wednesday (17 May) for the second time since taking up office. Gabriel noted positively after his talks with his counterpart Rex Tillerson: “That was a really good conversation!”
Win-win rather than zero-sum game
The around 670,000 jobs created in the United States thanks to German investments make it quite clear that trade between the two countries is anything but a zero‑sum game in which everything revolves around competition on the markets. Rather, both sides of the Atlantic are winners in the open and rules-based trade system. That is why Foreign Minister Gabriel argued in favour of maintaining open markets during his talks with US Secretary of State Tillerson and Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin.
Shouldering joint responsibility
The numerous crises in the world – from Syria to Ukraine and North Korea – are another reason for Europe and the United States to cooperate more closely. For in the interconnected world, the impact of supposedly local crises is felt around the globe. Whether it be climate change or terrorism: such challenges affect the international community as a whole. Europe and the United States have to assume responsibility together to find solutions to these problems. Gabriel’s talks with Tillerson on these issues lasted twice as long as originally planned. Gabriel reported that on topics such as Ukraine, Syria, Iraq and Russia they agreed on many points regarding the challenges and how to address them. Insofar he considered the meeting to have been very helpful.
Strong Europe in the United States’ interest
On the evening before his departure, Gabriel had stressed to the German-American Conference in Berlin that a strong and united Europe was also in the United States’ interest. However, the initiative had to come from Europe and this included emancipating itself in the sphere of security policy. Although Europe had some catching up to do in terms of hard power, Gabriel said, the American side should not lose sight of the importance of its soft power. If this balance was maintained and the burden was fairly distributed then both sides of the Atlantic could be sure that the United States and Europe were stronger together.