Partnership with US to continue no matter who’s president, German finance minister says

By Thomson Reuters Feb 12, 2024 | 9:29 AM

LONDON (Reuters) – The transatlantic partnership between the U.S. and European allies will continue no matter who is in the White House, Germany’s finance minister said on Monday amid a furore over critical remarks about NATO by ex-U.S. President Donald Trump.

Running for another term as president in the November election, Trump suggested during a campaign rally on Saturday that he would not defend NATO allies who failed to spend enough on defence and would even encourage Russia to attack them.

“Regardless of who is in the White House, we have an overriding interest in continuing to cooperate across the Atlantic, economically, politically and also in matters of security,” German Finance Minister Christian Lindner said.

Speaking during a visit to London, Lindner said Britain and Germany shared similar challenges when it comes to strengthening free trade capabilities.

“After Donald Trump’s initial statements, this dialogue is of particular importance,” Lindner said before going into a meeting with British counterpart Jeremy Hunt.

“We are facing major challenges as European members of NATO,” Lindner said, adding that Europe’s peace and free trade order had been put at risk by Russia’s 2022 invasion of Ukraine.

Lindner, referring to Britain’s 2020 departure from the European Union, also said Brexit had made business in Britain more difficult for German companies, meaning that close dialogue between the countries was crucial.

“This intensive exchange and dialogue is necessary because, unfortunately, we can no longer see each other regularly within the framework of the European Union,” Lindner said.

(Reporting by Maria Martinez; editing by Matthias Williams and Mark Heinrich)