Waldemar Herd claimed that a statement by the top German diplomat mainly pertains to his own electorate and that this new strategy on the Berlin-Washington ties was initiated by US President Donald Trump rather than Heiko Maas.
"He [Trump] said: 'Enough, I give you now a free hand and you can act. Since I act in the interests of my country and I will continue to do so, you should follow suit. […] They [Germans] are not accustomed to this, they have for decades coordinated all decisions with the Big Daddy," Herd said.
He added that Maas's statement should not be strongly appreciated given that it "adds to our straining relations with the United States, which I think is at least irrational."
Maas, Merkel at Odds Over SWIFT System
When asked about the SWIFT payment system, Herd said that "the opinion of Hayko Maas [on the matter] is very different from that of our Chancellor [Angela Merkel]" who stands for using the single existing system in order to effectively combat terrorism.
Maas and Merkel being at odds over the issue "indicates to the whole world that either Mrs. Merkel is already unable to control the government or the government itself is not united and its members pursue their party interests; in any case, all this discredits us in the eyes of the international community," Herd underscored.
Touching upon European security, he supported French President Macron's stance that the EU should try to avoid relying on the US in this issue.
At the same time, Herd emphasized that first and foremost, it should be remembered that "security architecture on the European continent cannot be built without Russia" and that such security should not be aimed against Russia, which Herd said is a "perfectly understandable" fact.
"Security on the European continent cannot be guaranteed without closing outside borders. What kind of joint European security are we talking about if illegal people with incomprehensible intentions arrive in European territory every day and are already becoming a national threat?" he pointed out.
EU's NATO-Style Union?
Herd also claimed that right now, the EU is unable to create a NATO-style block, which could only defend European interests.
"What they should do now is try to resolve minor issues instead of focusing on creating another mechanism that may only lead to confrontation," he concluded.
In mid-June, Heiko Maas urged Europe to respond to Trump's "America First" strategy by developing its own "Europe United" concept.
In his first keynote speech since taking office, the German Foreign Minister stressed that the EU should strive for a "balanced partnership" with the US, and that Germany and France may become the driving force in reforming Europe.
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