The United States has slowly lost interest in Europe as other countries and regions have enjoyed surging economic growth and influence, German Chancellor Angela Merkel told the Financial Times.
The German leader, in power for 15 years, noted a "shift" in how the United States looks at the world over the last few years.
"President (Barack) Obama already spoke about the Asian century, as seen from the U.S. perspective. This also means that Europe is no longer, so to say, at the centre of world events," Merkel told the FT in an article published Wednesday.
In 2011, former U.S. leader Obama said the Asia-Pacific region was the "top priority" for the United States. His speech at the Australian Parliament was seen as a challenge to China. At the time, the EU was heavily focused on surviving its sovereign debt crisis.
Almost 10 years after that speech, the European Union and the United States find themselves at a crossroads. President Donald Trump has challenged the 28-member bloc and, in particular, Germany on different occasions. He has accused Berlin of currency manipulation, of not adequately contributing to the NATO budget and has also threatened to impose tariffs on German cars.
Merkel argued that Europe "needs to take on more responsibility" to address this tense relationship with the U.S. "The United States' focus on Europe is declining — that will be the case under any president," Merkel said.
When asked about whether she had any personal tensions with the current president, Merkel said "I think it has structural causes."
To read the full interview, click here.