Berlin, Germany―World Trade Organization chief Roberto Azevedo warned Monday against a damaging "escalation" of trade tensions between the United States and other major economies, following a divisive G7 summit.
Later on Saturday, after Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said all seven nations had signed a joint communique at the end of the summit, Trump angrily lashed out on Twitter, stating the US would not endorse the statement.
"I'll tell you very openly and deeply seriously, if we don't manage to form a common response to illegal immigration, then certain foundations of the European Union will be placed in question", Merkel said, citing freedom of movement across the EU's borders. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe stands next to Trump, also with folded arms, as French President Emmanuel Macron leans in next to Merkel.
While many said that the picture sums up Trump's time at G7, several others called it a "power dynamic".
"Europe must take its fate into his own hands and no longer imprudently follow the US", Merkel said.
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Many Twitter users took up the challenge of a caption contest and offered alternatives to Merkel's straightforward description. On the current trajectory, Berlin's defense budget is expected to hit 1.5 percent of GDP in 2025 and 2 percent by 2030.
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With as neutral an expression as possible, she stares directly at President Trump, who sits on the other side of the table.
Merkel said it was not clear whether the group would issue a final directive, adding that failure to do so would be an honest reflection of the lack of agreement among Canada, the United States, Japan, Britain, Italy, France and Germany.
In the same interview, Merkel said the European Union was preparing to implement counter-measures against USA tariffs on imported steel and aluminum.
On Russia's possible return to the G7, Merkel said she could imagine it in the future but that the conditions had to be right for that.
Germany, Europe's top economy, finds itself in the sights of the U.S. president due to its large trade surplus and defense spending criticized as too low.
The chancellor also addressed concerns that Trump would hit back by implementing tariffs on German vehicles, saying, "First of all, we'll try and see if we can prevent this".
Trans-Atlantic and other trade wars would have "a long-term impact on the global economy", he said at a Berlin meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and leaders of the IMF, World Bank and other worldwide institutions.