Merkel, after Biden victory, says EU and U.S. must work side by side

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BERLIN (Reuters) – German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Monday congratulated U.S. President-elect Joe Biden on his election and called for the European Union and United States to work “side by side”, but also acknowledged the EU must do more to take care of its own security.

Merkel held up Biden as an experienced leader who knows Germany and Europe well, stressing: “We are allies in NATO, we share fundamental values … and interests.”

Eager to move on from President Donald Trump’s critical view of Germany, Merkel said the United States and Germany, as part of the EU, must work “side by side” to tackle the coronavirus, global warming, and terrorism and to champion free trade.

Trump previously called Germany “a captive to Russia” for supporting a Baltic Sea gas pipeline deal with Russia, threatened German auto makers with high tariffs on cars imported into the United States and criticised Berlin for not contributing enough to NATO.

“We Germans and we Europeans know that we have to take on more responsibility in this partnership in the 21st century,” Merkel said.

“America is and remains our most important ally. But it expects us, and rightly so, to make stronger efforts to take care of our security and to stand up for our convictions in the world,” she added.

Merkel also said Vice President-elect Kamala Harris was an inspiration to many people and that she was looking forward to working with Harris and Biden.

Reporting by Sabine Siebold; Writing by Paul Carrel; Editing by Michelle Adair

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