German Chancellor Angela Merkel is a "deeply convinced transatlanticist" who believes it is right to point to differences in her country's ties with the United States in order to maintain healthy relations, her spokesman said on May 29.
Merkel raised eyebrows in Washington and London a day earlier with comments some interpreted as a suggestion that the United States with Donald Trump as president and a Britain on its way out of the European Union were no longer reliable partners.
Merkel told an election rally in Munich on May 28 that while it is important to maintain friendly relations with allies such as the United States and Britain, “the times in which we can fully count on others are somewhat over."
"We Europeans truly have to take our destiny into our own hands,” she added, receiving a minute-long ovation after her remarks.
"The chancellor's words stand on their own -- they were clear and comprehensible," spokesman Steffen Seibert told a regular government news conference in Berlin on May 29.
"It was a deeply convinced transatlanticist who spoke," Seibert added.
"Because transatlantic relations are so important to this chancellor, it is right from her viewpoint to speak out honestly about differences," he said.
Based on reporting by Reuters and dpa