Wednesday

26th Apr 2017

US praises Germany's 'exemplary leadership' in Europe

  • Kerry recalled a bike trip through east Berlin after the war and said reconstruction is 'nothing short of remarkable' (Photo: State Department)

On his first trip to Berlin as US foreign secretary John Kerry on Tuesday (26 February) praised Germany's leadership in Europe and made a strong case for an EU-US free trade agreement.

"I remember biking here down the Reichstag when it was in a state of destruction. What you have done for this city and this country is nothing short of remarkable," Kerry told press alongside Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

Earlier in the day, when speaking to American and German students, he recalled how he cycled through the divided German capital shortly after the World War II had ended. His father, an American diplomat, had been posted to Germany at the time. He was not very happy about his son wandering about town and possibly creating a diplomatic incident, so he grounded Kerry.

"What you’re doing now in Germany is so remarkable in terms of leading Europe and expressing a vision about where we can go together," Kerry told the young audience.

He repeated the compliment when meeting Merkel, thanking "Germany's exemplary leadership."

Germany has been under strong criticism in southern European countries for its "austerity diktat," with protesters in Greece recently portraying Merkel as a Nazi.

Last week, the President of Germany, Joachim Gauck, said he was "shocked" to see those images and reassured troubled euro-countries Germany does not want to impose a "diktat" on Europe.

During his meetings in Berlin, with Merkel, young people and the foreign minister of Germany, Guido Westerwelle, Kerry also underlined the importance of signing a free trade agreement between the US and the EU.

“We want to see even more trade and investment that will create jobs, jobs for Germans, jobs for Americans, jobs for all Europeans,” he said in a joint press conference with Westerwelle.

The trade deal will help raise standards for products and food all across the world and break tariff barriers, he added.

"One of the difficulties with the Asian marketplace has been that they’re engaged in capitalism and they’re pursuing pretty intensive market opportunities, but they’re not always playing by the same rules," Kerry said.

When the US and the EU combine their markets and have common standards on products in such a large marketplace, Asia and other parts of the world will have to "raise their rules and standards" as well, he noted.

He said the harmonisation process will be "tough."

"There are differences of regulations on certain kinds of things. There are differences on agriculture policies. We have to work through those. I’m confident we can," he told German and American students.

Later on Tuesday, Kerry also met the Russian foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, for almost two hours of talks about Syria.

The US foreign secretary is continuing his European trip with stops in Paris and Rome, after visiting London on Monday. Brussels, the EU capital, is not on his agenda, however.

Dont expect 'quick fix' in Syria, China tells EU

Beijing special envoy on the Syrian conflict said in Brussels that "imposing" a solution from the outside would "not be workable" and that the peace process will not be "smooth sailing".

Russia suspected of Macron hack

Likely Russian spies tried to steal email passwords from Macron's people the same way they hacked US elections, new study says.

Russia threat triggers European military spending hike

Russia's annexation of Crimea in Ukraine has intensified military and defence spending throughout much of Central Europe, according to a new report by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.

Russia suspected of Macron hack

Likely Russian spies tried to steal email passwords from Macron's people the same way they hacked US elections, new study says.

News in Brief

  1. EU parliament moves to lift Le Pen's immunity
  2. EU Commission launches probe into Hungary's university law
  3. Scots slowly losing appetite for independence - poll
  4. Council of Europe puts Turkey on watch list
  5. EU to put parental leave on political agenda
  6. Israel cancels German meeting over human rights groups
  7. Hungary's Orban will participate in EU parliament debate
  8. Malta floats cash-for-refugees plan

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNICEFRace Against Time to Save Millions of Lives in Yemen
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersDeveloping Independent Russian-Language Media in the Baltic Countries
  3. Swedish EnterprisesReform of the European Electricity Market: Lessons from the Nordics, Brussels 2 May
  4. Malta EU 2017Green Light Given for New EU Regulation to Bolster External Border Checks
  5. Counter BalanceCall for EU Commission to Withdraw Support of Trans-Adriatic Pipeline
  6. ACCAEconomic Confidence at Highest Since 2015
  7. European Federation of Allergy and Airways60%-90% of Your Life Is Spent Indoors. How Does Poor Indoor Air Quality Affect You?
  8. European Gaming and Betting AssociationCJEU Confirms Obligation for a Transparent Licensing Process
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Region and the US: A Time of Warlike Rhetoric and Militarisation?
  10. European Free AllianceEFA MEPs Vote in Favor of European Parliament's Brexit Mandate
  11. Mission of China to the EUXinhua Insight: China to Open up Like Never Before
  12. World VisionViolence Becomes New Normal for Syrian Children

Latest News

  1. Brexit is about Europe's future as well
  2. Power struggle in Greenland: Three reasons why the EU should care
  3. Nordic and Baltic countries step up digitalisation efforts
  4. European states still top media freedom list
  5. Let’s not put European public health at risk
  6. Threatened Budapest university calls for EU support
  7. Orban set to face down EU threats
  8. Dont expect 'quick fix' in Syria, China tells EU