Foreign Minister Heiko Maas: “We need to recalibrate our relations”

23.09.2018 - Interview

Foreign Minister Heiko Maas made the following remarks in an interview with The German Press Agency on the future of the transatlantic partnership:

That is part of the debate on strategy within the Federal Government. But it was also the catalyst for a discussion within the European Union. This topic was on the agenda at the last Foreign Ministers’ Meeting. My contribution received a lot of attention there, because I am keen to examine the issue from a strategic perspective. We Europeans can’t afford just to sit like a rabbit caught in a car’s headlights and wait to see the next day’s tweets.

Overall, we are pursuing the goal of maintaining the transatlantic partnership. We need the United States. But since policies there have changed, we need to recalibrate our relations. That isn’t something we wanted. Our goal is to adapt the transatlantic partnership to the situation in 2018, to readjust it, and above all, to make it fit for the future.

Many people think they can sit Trump out and then after him everything will be as it was before. I think that’s unrealistic. Structural changes have occurred in our transatlantic relations, and they won’t disappear even after Trump has gone. We in Germany, and above all in Europe, need to adapt strategically to this.

In the past we always engaged in intensive consultations on all key issues. There was close coordination at all levels. There is less and less of that now. We hear about some decisions via Twitter. Sometimes I get the impression that there are also people in the United States who only learn of decisions made at the White House via Twitter. That changes the nature of our cooperation. We want to see more dialogue and more coordination. And we want to maintain our close ties with American civil society. That is one of the reasons why we are launching Deutschlandjahr USA on 3 October, with more than 1000 events taking place across the entire country.


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