Saturday, 23 June, 2018

Merkel says expects 'difficult discussions' at G7 summit

Dialogue with Rome but respect EU rules (3) Merkel ready to compromise with France on euro zone reform
Patty Aguilar | 09 June, 2018, 23:45

German chancellor Angela Merkel has predicted hard talks at the G7 summit, and warned that she will not accept conclusions on issues like trade that water down the group's previous statements.

Germany will talk to the new Italian government but will stress that everyone has to respect European Union rules, Chancellor Angela Merkel said Wednesday.

"A format that is explicitly based on respecting worldwide law is not viable for Russian Federation at present", she said, adding that Germany maintains frequent diplomatic contact with the Kremlin.

The group of Western powers meets in Canada on Friday and Saturday amid growing tensions between the US and its allies after Washington announced its withdrawal from the Paris climate accord and the Iran nuclear agreement, and slapped steel and aluminum tariffs on its traditional partners.

The first question came from the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party, which is now Germany's main opposition.

Chancellor Angela Merkel will face questions in parliament from lawmakers on Wednesday, the first outing for a new format agreed by the governing coalition that took office in March.

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But there "must not be a compromise for the sake of a compromise", she told lawmakers, saying there was "no sense in papering over divisions".

Merkel said she will try to discuss problems such as Iran and tariffs with President Donald Trump.

But the prospect of more solidarity has raised concerns in Germany, where conservative lawmakers are particularly allergic to the idea of German taxpayers being asked to fund other European countries.

She said Russia's readmission to such a format is not now feasible.

Germany has long sought a permanent seat.

The German leader again questioned the durability of trans-Atlantic relations by referring to eye-raising comments she made over a year ago in which she said that "the times when we could fully rely on others are to some extent over".

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