German Minister of Foreign Affairs Heiko Maas is promoting ambitious plans to challenge the U.S. on the world stage.
What are the plans?
Maas wrote an article this week called “Making plans for a new world order” in which he calls for the European Union to become the “cornerstone of the international order.”
He also calls for forming a European “counterweight” to the U.S. whenever the nation "crosses the line."
"...we Europeans must form a counterweight,” he wrote Wednesday in the German financial newspaper Handelsblatt. “The main goal of our foreign policy is therefore to build a sovereign, strong Europe.”
German Chancellor Angela Merkel agrees with Maas' statements.
“The article by Minister Maas conveyed much of what constitutes the common stance of the government towards the United States,” Merkel’s spokesman Steffen Seibert said at a government news conference, Reuters news reported.
Maas wrote that he believes Germany can help redefine the EU’s role.
“If we go it alone, we will fail in this task,” Maas wrote. “The outstanding aim of our foreign policy is to build a sovereign, strong Europe. Only by joining forces with France and other European nations can a balance with the U.S. be achieved. The European Union must become a cornerstone of the international order, a partner for all those who are committed to it. She is predestined for this, because compromise and balance lie in her DNA.”
What about President Trump?
He also maintains the proposed policy shift is not aimed at President Donald Trump.
Mass wrote: “Not because Donald Trump is always setting new percentage targets [for NATO spending], but because we can no longer rely on Washington to the same extent.”
DW News, a state-run media outlet in Germany, offered this analysis of Maas’ comments:
“Maas' article comes amid strained relations between the U.S. and its European allies after U.S. President Donald Trump imposed tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from the EU, and pulled out of a nuclear deal between Iran and major powers."
"Europe has been scrambling to persuade Tehran to remain in the 2015 accord. But with European firms wary of far-reaching U.S. financial penalties, it's proving to be a challenge.”
Maas also suggested the establishment of banking networks independent of the U.S. as an effort to salvage the Iran nuclear deal.
“As Europeans, we have made it clear to the Americans that we consider the withdrawal from the nuclear agreement with Iran to be a mistake,” he wrote. “Meanwhile, the first U.S. sanctions have come back into force.”