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US election: German foreign minister calls for reset in post-election US-German relations

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President Donald Trump shakes hands with German Chancellor Angela Merkel during the NATO summit at The Grove in Watford, England, in December 2019.
President Donald Trump shakes hands with German Chancellor Angela Merkel during the NATO summit at The Grove in Watford, England, in December 2019.   -   Copyright  Evan Vucci/Associated Press
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German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas called on Tuesday for a "new deal" with the United States following the US presidential election, after Donald Trump's term in office was marked by a deterioration in German-American relations.

"We need a transatlantic partnership that works, we want a 'new deal' in this partnership and we are ready to invest in our relationship," he said at a press briefing with his Kosovar counterpart on the day millions of Americans head to the polls.

Heiko Maas insisted on the need to invest "in the future, as a transatlantic partner, to respond together to the global issues" that arise in the world.

"We wish all Americans a fair, good vote and above all a calm election day," he added. "This is an election that will pave the way for something, especially with regard to the role of the United States in the world."

This statement by a German official is rather unusual a few hours before the end of the presidential election in the United States, while Angela Merkel refused on Monday to make any statement on the subject.

While she avoided commenting on the election itself, Merkel did value the advice of scientists in reference to chants at a Trump rally to fire Dr Anthony Fauci, a leading member of the White House coronavirus task force.

"You know that simply because of my education as a physicist I naturally attribute great weight to scientific advice, and make use of it myself," she said.

For his part, the Vice-Chancellor and Finance Minister, Olaf Scholz, wished "for the American citizens" that the future be "marked by reconciliation and not division".

Germany has repeatedly been the target of Donald Trump's discontent over the past four years, particularly on the issue of German defence spending and the NATO budget, the decision to remove American troops from Germany, as well as a brewing trade war in which the US threatened to impose tariffs on German car exports.

In 2019, Trump imposed a 25 per cent tariffs on steel and a 10 per cent tariff on aluminium from the European Union, a move which has further impacted the German automotive industry.

Earlier this year, Maas had indicated US-German relations were perhaps irreparably damaged, even if Democrat Joe Biden entered the White House.

"Everyone who thinks everything in the trans-Atlantic partnership will be as it once was with a Democratic president underestimates the structural changes," he said in an interview with German press agency DPA on June 28.

"The trans-Atlantic relations are extraordinarily important, they remain important, and we are working to ensure they have a future," Maas continued. "But with the way they are now, they are no longer fulfilling the demands both sides have for them."