Merkel calls for bigger German role to shore up multilateralism

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, in her New Year address to the nation, said Germany must assume greater responsibilities at a time when multilateralism is coming under intense pressure.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel, in her New Year address to the nation, said Germany must assume greater responsibilities at a time when multilateralism is coming under intense pressure.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

BERLIN • Chancellor Angela Merkel has said that Germany must "stand fast, argue and fight for our own convictions" and assume greater responsibilities at a time when multilateralism is coming under intense pressure.

In her New Year's address to Germans recorded on Sunday, Dr Merkel said long-held certainties about international cooperation were being put to the test.

Global challenges including climate change, immigration and the fight against terrorism could not be solved by countries going it alone, she warned.

"For our own interests, we want to solve all these questions, and we can do that best when we also take into consideration the interests of others," she said in a speech to be broadcast in full later yesterday.

"That is the lesson from two world wars of the last century," she said, warning however that "certainties about international cooperation is falling under pressure". "In our own interest, we must take on more responsibilities."

With an eye to Germany taking on a non-permanent seat in the United Nations Security Council in 2019 and 2020, the leader of Europe's biggest economy said her country would push for "global solutions".

She also pledged to raise spending for humanitarian and development aid, as well as defence.

Although Dr Merkel did not name US President Donald Trump in her speech, she has on previous occasions rejected his criticisms of multilateralism.

In his second appearance before the UN's annual gathering last September, Mr Trump told the General Assembly that he and his administration "reject the ideology of globalism, and we embrace the doctrine of patriotism".

A week later, Dr Merkel had warned Mr Trump against "destroying" the UN.

"I believe that destroying something without having developed something new is extremely dangerous," Dr Merkel said at a regional election campaign event then.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 01, 2019, with the headline 'Merkel calls for bigger German role to shore up multilateralism'. Print Edition | Subscribe