Angela Merkel braced for talks with Trump and Erdogan

German chancellor says Europe determined to make a success of Paris climate agreement

German chancellor Angela Merkel and French president Emmanuel  Macron: Dr Merkel said  Brexit challenges would not hinder G20 leaders from Europe presenting a united front. Photograph: Michele Tantussi/Getty Images

German chancellor Angela Merkel and French president Emmanuel Macron: Dr Merkel said Brexit challenges would not hinder G20 leaders from Europe presenting a united front. Photograph: Michele Tantussi/Getty Images

 

A week before chancellor Angela Merkel welcomes G20 leaders to Hamburg, the German leader is gearing up for high-level showdown with US president Donald Trump and Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Ahead of preparatory talks on Friday in Berlin with European G20 leaders and EU officials, the chancellor warned Mr Trump that Europe would not be dragged down by US unilateral trade and climate policies.

“Anybody who believes the problems of the world can be solved with isolationism and protectionism is labouring under a huge error,” said Dr Merkel to the Bundestag. She insisted that Brexit challenges would not hinder G20 leaders from Europe presenting a united front at the July 7th-8th meeting. On the contrary, she said Europe was “more determined than ever” to make a success of the Paris climate agreement despite the US withdrawal.

“We must tackle this existential challenge, and we cannot wait until every last person on Earth has been convinced of the scientific proof,” said Dr Merkel, who cut her political teeth chairing talks that eventually lead to the Kyoto Agreement.

A choice

Preparing for the two-day meeting of the world’s 20 largest economies, German officials have faced a choice: to keep the Trump administration on board by diluting any final trade and climate agreement, or isolate Washington by winning over as many other delegations as possible.

With her strident Bundestag rhetoric, coloured in part by September’s looming federal election, the German leader signalled she is not interested in a lowest common denominator agreement.

Given growing global challenges such as migration and security meant, she said, “that we need the G20 more urgently than ever”.

Special focus

The meeting will have special focus on development and investment partnerships with African states, something the German leader said would highlight that the positive potential of globalisation.

Meanwhile Germany has warned Mr Erdogan not to use his trip to address German supporters, traditionally more loyal to the president than the general Turkish population.

Although there was no formal notification of such any such rally, German foreign minister Sigmar Gabriel said on Thursday he had told his Turkish opposite number weeks ago “that we don’t think that’s a good idea”.

There were practical reasons against permitting such a rally, he said, because 20,000 police guarding the event would leave no capacity to police a separate Turkish political rally.

To avoid any misunderstandings, however, Mr Gabriel also stated Berlin’s diplomatic and political concerns: “We hereby inform Turkey of our conviction that such an appearance in Germany is not possible, and there is constitutional precedent to that effect.”

To avoid another round in a recent Berlin-Ankara spat, prompted by rally bans on Turkish ministers ahead of the constitutional referendum, Germany’s foreign ministry says it would inform all embassies that foreign political rallies were not welcome on German soil.

Next week’s G20 meeting is expected to be the largest security operation the country has ever seen, attracting huge delegations, tens of thousands of protestors and an expected hard-core of about 8,000 possibly violent anti-G20 activists.