German minister says Donald Trump's showing a 'huge shock', wants clarity on Nato

German Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen asked US president-elect Donald Trump for assurances on his commitment to Nato.
German Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen asked US president-elect Donald Trump for assurances on his commitment to Nato.PHOTO: AFP

BERLIN (REUTERS) - Germany's Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen described Mr Donald Trump's performance in the United States presidential election as a "huge shock" on Wednesday (Nov 9) and asked him for assurances on his commitment to Nato.

Ms von der Leyen told broadcaster ARD that the Republican candidate's strong showing was "not a vote for him but rather against Washington, against the establishment". "It was a big shock when I saw the way things are heading," she said, as reports earlier showed Mr Trump was edging closer to winning the White House with a series of shocking wins in key states such as Florida and Ohio, rattling world markets.

Germany, like other European countries, was alarmed by Mr Trump's comments earlier in the campaign that if Russia attacked a Nato member, he would consider whether the targeted country had met its defence commitments before providing military aid.

"Of course we Europeans, as a Nato ally, know that if Donald Trump becomes president, he'll ask: What are you contributing to this alliance?" Ms von der Leyen, a member of Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives, said.

"But we're also wondering, what's your position on this alliance?" she added, in the first comments from a German minister on the US vote.

Ms von der Leyen said the German government now needed to find out know who their contact person would be in a Trump government and what campaign announcements he wanted to implement.

"There are many questions yet to be answered," she said.

Regarding Mr Trump's pledge to "Make America Great Again", Ms von der Leyen said that would only be possible with a strong economy and that, in turn, would only be possible if he did not create uncertainty.

"It's in our interest that the America remains prepared to take on responsibility and open to the world," she said.