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Transatlantic relations remain of supreme importance

by Nico Lange

#AdenauerInterview with Klaus Schüler, Federal Manager of the CDU party

Klaus Schüler, federal manager of the CDU – the political party of Angela Merkel – has been familiar with US-politics for a long time. Nico Lange was talking to him on the sidelines of an Adenauer event in Washington D.C. about the Trump presidency and transatlantic cooperation.

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Lange: Dr. Schüler, welcome to the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung in Washington, DC. For many years you have been friends, both personally and politically, with many people here in the USA. You are now here to conduct meetings. Have there been a lot of changes?

Schüler: Well, of course some things have changed. The presidential election has ended with a result that very few had predicted. The American President has furiously started his agenda. However, with a polarized country and with, at least in Europe, the occasionally ill perceived statements on foreign and security policy, which signal that it is of great importance to keep the lines of communication open, to speak with one another, to exchange arguments, to get to know each other’s perspectives, including members of the new administration, in order to do that which is attainable, namely, to underscore the significance and importance of the transatlantic relationship for both sides of the Atlantic.

Every new administration needs some time to settle into office

Lange: You just pointed out that Trump has stormed Washington, which has left the impression that there is still a dust cloud hanging over the city after this storm. What is behind those clouds? What matters in the transatlantic relationship now? What must we now pay attention to when we engage with the United States of America?

Schüler: I think one has to simply say that every new administration needs a certain amount of time to settle into the office, to define their agenda, and to speak with the most important friends and allies at home and abroad. I believe that we are still in this phase, therefore it is important for us to use our personal contacts to learn as much as possible about that which our American friends intend to do domestically, as well as in foreign and security policy. Specifically, NATO and the transatlantic alliance are, of course, of significant importance to us. It will surely take some time before one can have a deeper understanding of this.

In a world that appears to be a dangerous place for many, cooperation across the Atlantic is more urgent than ever

Schüler: However, after the Munich Security Conference and the message delivered by our American friends I am more optimistic, that some of the scenarios that we heard and read about will not come to fruition. Rather, in the future we will work closely together as partners. Because I believe that in a world, which for many appears to be more and more unhinged and a dangerous place, cooperation across the Atlantic is more urgent than ever. I believe that finding a common agenda will be the task of the coming months.

Lange: Thank you, Dr. Schüler.

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Country Reports
March 1, 2017
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