German FM Warns Against Undermining NATO After Macron Calls Alliance ‘Brain Dead’

German Chancellor Angela Merkel right and the designated President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen left address the media during a joint press conference after a meeting at the chancellery in Berlin Germany Friday Nov. 8 2019. (AP

German Chancellor Angela Merkel right and the designated President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen left address the media during a joint press conference after a meeting at the chancellery in Berlin Germany Friday Nov. 8 2019. (AP

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas warned on Sunday against undermining North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, in Berlin's strongest response to date to French President Emmanuel Macron's critical remarks about the security alliance.

The remarks followed French President Emmanuel Macron's interview with The Economist, in which he claimed that North Atlantic Treaty Organisation was experiencing "brain death" and referred to a lack of coordination and U.S. unpredictability under President Donald Trump. He also expressed doubt about the US -led alliance's security maxim that an attack on one ally would be treated as an attack on all. "Without the United States, neither Germany nor Europe will be able to effectively protect themselves", Maas wrote in a column published online by Der Spiegel magazine.

Pompeo warned that "we can never take.things for granted".

Maas supported Macron's call to strengthen Europe's defence capabilities.

France has had a hot-and-cool relationship with North Atlantic Treaty Organisation since its days as a founding member of the alliance in 1949.

Macron's warning came just a month before a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation summit scheduled for December 4 in London.

"That's why together with France, we are working hard to build a Europe that works much closer together in security policy", Maas wrote, according to Reuters.

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas doubled down on Berlin's tough stance toward recent French criticism of North Atlantic Treaty Organisation on November 10, warning that "neither Germany nor Europe will be able to effectively protect themselves" without the United States.

Maas also cautioned the European Union and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation not to play against each other, calling for the creation of "a strong and sovereign Europe".

Maas said he was working closely on this idea with his French counterpart Jean-Yves Le Drian, and Germany would present a framework for such a council during its European Union presidency in the second half of 2020.

"This is not how I see the state of cooperation at North Atlantic Treaty Organisation", she said, adding that "NATO remains a cornerstone of our security". "This includes the project of a new combat aircraft as well as a battle tank", said Merkel.

Merkel used a speech on November 9 marking the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall to urge Europe to defend democracy and freedom.

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