Sunday, 23 September, 2018

Merkel sees difficult G-7, will seek talks with Trump

Dialogue with Rome but respect EU rules (3) German Chancellor Angela Merkel predicts ‘contentious’ G7 summit with Trump
Jeannette Daniel | 09 June, 2018, 22:28

German Chancellor Angela Merkel is calling for restraint in dealing with Italy's new populist government, arguing that the relationship should not start with "suspicions and assumptions".

The June 8-9 meeting in Charlevoix, Canada, will begin with a working session on economic growth and trade - topical issues after U.S. President Donald Trump infuriated Canada and European Union G7 members by imposing tariffs on steel and aluminum.

Just days before the G7 in La Malbaie, Quebec, begins on Friday, Merkel said Germany hoped to at least preserve the progress made at last year's summit.

"With these reforms, it will only work with compromises", Merkel added in a discussion on Europe hosted by German broadcaster WDR.

She added, however, that "we must not keep watering down" previous summit conclusions committing the G-7 countries to fair multilateral trade and rejecting protectionism. Lawmaker Hansjörg Müller asked if Merkel, who has been a strong critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin, planned to engage more closely with Moscow. AfD lawmaker Michael Espendiller asked whether the G-8 format including Russian Federation, which was thrown out after Moscow's annexation of Crimea from Ukraine, should be revived.

More news: Trump says he is likely to support ending federal ban on cannabis

Merkel responded that the Group of Seven leading powers, as it now is, is defined by having members who respect worldwide law, and Russia's annexation of Crimea was a "flagrant breach" of that.

German chancellors haven't previously interacted directly with lawmakers in the same way British prime ministers do at their weekly question time.

Merkel will now face questions thrice a 12 months, although some opposition lawmakers complain that the format is just too rigid and the occasion seems extremely unlikely to emulate the bear-pit environment of query time in London.

"A format that is explicitly based on respecting worldwide law is not viable for Russian Federation at present", she said, adding that Germany maintains frequent diplomatic contact with the Kremlin.

At Wednesday's one-hour session, questions and answers were kept to a maximum of a minute each, in a calm but concentrated atmosphere far removed from that often experienced in Westminster.

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