Merkel’s Election Program Drops U.S. as ‘Friend’

The campaign program for German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union party no longer lists the U.S. as a “friend,” a major departure from its previous program. The new program, unveiled Monday ahead of a Sept. 24 election, is widely seen as a sign of fraying relations as Merkel and U.S. President Trump butt heads over issues like trade and climate change. In 2013, the program for Merkel’s party described the U.S. as Germany’s “most important friend” outside of Europe. That program also hailed Berlin’s friendship with Washington as a “cornerstone” of the country’s international relations. The latest election program, however, lists the U.S. only as Germany’s “most important partner,” with no mention of friendship. Merkel’s new program also repeats a line from a speech she gave in May urging Germans to get used to self-reliance. “The times in which we could fully rely on others are, to a certain extent, in the past,” it reads.