AACHEN — German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Thursday that Europe can no longer count on the United States to protect it, urging the continent to “take destiny into its own hands.”
“It is no longer such that the United States simply protects us, but Europe must take its destiny in its own hands. That's the task of the future," she said during a speech honoring French President Emmanuel Macron, according to Agence France-Presse.
Her sharp comments came days after President Trump pulled the U.S. out of the Iran nuclear deal, angering European allies who are parties to the 2015 pact.
Macron echoed Merkel, saying European nations should not allow "other major powers, including allies" to "put themselves in a situation to decide our diplomacy and security for us."
Merkel, Macron and other European leaders visited the White House over the past few weeks to try to persuade Trump to remain in the agreement, to no avail.
Merkel and Macron released a joint statement with British Prime Minister Theresa May on Tuesday saying they will remain in the agreement aimed at preventing Iran from developing a nuclear weapon.
“This resolution remains the binding international legal framework for the resolution of the dispute about the Iranian nuclear programme. We urge all sides to remain committed to its full implementation and to act in a spirit of responsibility,” the leaders said in a statement.
The German leader made similar comments last spring after the U.S. president brought his “America First” message to a summit of NATO allies, accusing them of not spending enough on their own defense.