German leaders step up attacks on Trump

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Mrs Merkel says it is right not to gloss over differences with the US

Germany’s top politicians have stepped up criticism of US President Donald Trump, a day after Chancellor Angela Merkel said the US and UK were no longer reliable partners.

On Monday Mrs Merkel said it was right not to gloss over differences with the US, while her foreign minister said Mr Trump’s actions “weakened the West”.

It comes days after the G7 summit, where Mr Trump refused to commit to the 2015 Paris climate deal.

Germany goes to the polls in September.

German opposition leader Martin Schulz accused Mr Trump of having tried to “humiliate” Mrs Merkel in Brussels.

It was unclear exactly what incident a furious Mr Schulz was referring to, but he accused the US president of “acting like an autocratic leader”.

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Speaking at a conference on sustainable development in Berlin, Mrs Merkel reiterated her call for Europeans to take their fate into their own hands.

The debate at the G7 meeting in Italy had shown it would be difficult to make the 2015 Paris climate deal work, she said.

Those putting on “national blinkers” on matters of international sustainability were going about things the wrong way, she said.

Mr Trump has said he will make a decision on the Paris agreement this week.

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Mr Schulz is challenging Mrs Merkel at elections in September

He has previously pledged to abandon the Paris deal and expressed doubts about climate change.

However, Mrs Merkel also said at the conference that she remained a “convinced Trans-Atlanticist”. On Sunday she said Germany and Europe wanted friendly relations with the US and UK as well as with other regional powers, such as Russia.

Analysis – BBC Berlin Correspondent Jenny Hill

Germans loathe Donald Trump – they dislike his rhetoric and his politics. And politicians of every hue are disgusted by his refusal to co-operate with the rest of the G7 on climate change and migration.

Angela Merkel’s uncharacteristically candid tone has gone down well with the electorate and, given the general election is four months away, perhaps the public support of her main rival Martin Schulz should not come as a surprise. “It’s Merkel versus Trump”, exclaimed one headline.

But it is unlikely that Mrs Merkel expects – as some commentators would have it – to re-set the transatlantic relationship. Behind the scenes in Berlin, there is a grudging acceptance that, like him or not, Germany has to do business with Mr Trump.

The US is a vital trade partner and, as Germany’s interior minister admitted on Monday afternoon, co-operation on security and defence is of immense importance and will be intensified.

Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel meanwhile accused the US of “short-sighted policies” that he said were against EU interests.

“Anyone who accelerates climate change by weakening environmental protection, who sells more weapons in conflict zones and who does not want to politically resolve religious conflicts is putting peace in Europe at risk,” Mr Gabriel said.

Mrs Merkel is on the campaign trail ahead of elections in September. Polls suggest she is on course to be re-elected for a fourth term.