Maas: Europe can no longer rely on the United States

Germany's foreign minister, Heiko Maas, has said that Europe can no longer rely on the United States. His comments reflected the unease of Washington's traditional allies surrounding the Trump administration.

Heiko Mass, Germany's foreign minister, said on Monday that Europe could no longer rely on the USA. "To maintain our partnership with the USA we must readjust it," the German foreign minister told Germany's Funke newspaper group. "The first clear consequence can only be that we need to align ourselves even more closely in Europe."

Read more: Donald Trump calls EU, Russia, China 'foes' ahead of summit with Vladimir Putin 

Mass's comments were made just hours ahead of a meeting between US President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, and came after Trump's call last week for NATO allies to spend more on defense, and his reference to the European Union as a "foe" in trade.       

The US president also caused something of a media storm on a visit to the UK, where he appeared to undermine Prime Minister Theresa May's position on Brexit in an interview with a tabloid newspaper.

Donald Trump on Germany: Top quotes

The good, the bad and the ugly

US President Donald Trump has offered both candid praise and unabashed criticism of Germany and its policies. From calling German Chancellor Angela Merkel "possibly the greatest world leader" to describing her open-door refugee policy as a "catastrophic mistake," here are his most memorable quotes regarding Germany.

Donald Trump on Germany: Top quotes

'Greatest'

"Germany's like sitting back silent, collecting money and making a fortune with probably the greatest leader in the world today, Merkel," Trump said in a 2015 interview with US news magazine Time.

Donald Trump on Germany: Top quotes

'Very bad'

"The Germans are bad, very bad ... Look at the millions of cars they sell in the US. Terrible. We'll stop that," Trump said during a NATO leaders summit, according to German news magazine Der Spiegel, which cited sources at the alliance's meeting.

Donald Trump on Germany: Top quotes

'Something in common'

"As far as wiretapping, I guess, by - you know - [the Obama] administration, at least we have something in common, perhaps," Trump said in March during a press conference with Merkel. He was referring to his unproven allegations that ex-President Barack Obama tapped his phone. There was widespread anger in Germany in 2013 when it was revealed the US National Security Agency tapped Merkel's phone.

Donald Trump on Germany: Top quotes

'Illegals'

"I think she made one very catastrophic mistake and that was taking all of these illegals (sic), you know taking all of the people from wherever they come from," Trump said in a joint interview published by German daily Bild and British newspaper The Times, referring to Merkel's open-door policy for refugees fleeing war and persecution.

Donald Trump on Germany: Top quotes

'Germany owes vast sums of money'

"Despite what you have heard from the fake news, I had a great meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Nevertheless, Germany owes vast sums of money to NATO and the United States must be paid more for the powerful, and very expensive, defense it provides to Germany," Trump said in a two-tweet statement after meeting with Merkel for the first time in March 2017.

Donald Trump on Germany: Top quotes

'Turning their backs'

"The people of Germany are turning against their leadership as migration is rocking the already tenuous Berlin coalition," Trump tweeted in the midst of a row within the German goverment. He went on to claim that: "Crime in Germany is way up. Big mistake made all over Europe in allowing millions of people in who have so strongly and violently changed their culture!"

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kw/rc (AFP, Reuters)