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The United States and a united Europe continue to be the alliance of free Western nations

by Nico Lange

Jürgen Rüttgers speaks in an interview about Donald Trump and the new US-Administration

Jürgen Rüttgers, former Prime Minister of North Rhine Westfalia and former member of the Helmut Kohl cabinet is a regular visitor to the United States. Nico Lange talked with him about Donald Trump, the USA, Europe and the Atlantic relations.

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Nico Lange: Mr. Rüttgers, welcome to the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung in Washington. For many years you have been coming to the United States and following developments. Now you have come in a very interesting time, as one can observe during the discussions. What message do you have for your American partners, right now?

Jürgen Rüttgers: I believe that we both, the United States and a united Europe, have an interest in continuing the alliance of free Western nations. Right now, there is a lot of chaos here. Right now, the left hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doing. I just learned in one of my meetings that there is a “coalition” inside the Trump administration.

I believe that we need to make it clear, among us, that this is not about starting a fight with America. Instead, we need to continue to understand, that they are our strongest ally, that they have a very strong national economy, that the world’s largest research companies and institutions are here, and that their culture, specifically Hollywood, is very important to us. We, the USA and a united Europe, together need to continue our alliance of free Western nations into the future.

Bilateral "Deals" are not the answer to globalization and digitalization

Lange: You follow the conversations here, speak with many partners, many of whom you’ve known for years. Are there drastic changes that you have noticed in American society, or with contacts that you have had for a long time? Has a lot really changed?

Rüttgers: A lot has changed. In the past it was clear that we were both fighting for the same goals and values. There is a group that sees this completely differently and now they are even represented in the White House. They want to destroy Europe. They would rather make deals, as it is called here now, with individual states. I think that the answer to the challenges of globalization and digitalization cannot be that we allow Europe to be destroyed. The alliance should continue, the alliance must continue, but it has to be an alliance of equal partners.

Lange: What does this mean for us as Germans and Europeans? What would your advice be to those who have to work with the American administration for the time being?

We still believe in Western values

Rüttgers: We still believe in Western values. We still believe in modern times. We believe in human and civil rights. We want to shape the future together with America, but we will not be controlled by the White House here in Washington.

Lange: Thank you, Mr. Rüttgers.

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