Angela Merkel Sets Collision Course With Trump Ahead of G-20

But there was also little doubt that Ms. Merkel was trying to gird Germans and her European Union partners for a more conflictual relationship with the United States, which she said could no longer be counted on as a “reliable” ally after Mr. Trump’s visit to Europe in May.

Those divisions are likely to be full display during the Group of 20 summit meeting that begins July 7 in the German city of Hamburg, where Ms. Merkel will welcome not only Mr. Trump but also President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey and other leaders from industrialized and emerging nations.

Global trade, as well as measures to halt climate change, migration, terrorism and international pandemics are all on the agenda. For the chancellor, however, the most important single message of the gathering is ensuring multilateral cooperation through international institutions. Those include the International Monetary Fund and the World Trade Organization, both of which will are taking part in the meeting.

The stage for conflict at the gathering was set in March, when a meeting of finance ministers and central bankers from the Group of 20 ended in discord as the United States broke with its allies and forced a rewriting of the final joint statement. Among other things, the United States delegation insisted that a pledge to support the 2015 Paris accords on climate change be dropped.

In the months since, Washington has only toughened its stance, repeatedly criticizing Germany over its trade surplus and formally announcing that the United States would back out of the Paris climate agreement.

Combating climate change is an issue close to the chancellor’s heart, and on Thursday she saved some of her most pointed language to address her differences with the Trump administration. “Since the decision by the United States of America to quit the Paris climate accords, we are more determined than ever to make it a success,” Ms. Merkel told lawmakers.


Activists stood in front of City Hall in Hamburg, Germany, on Monday. Thousands of left-leaning demonstrators have pledged to take to the streets in mass protests during the Group of 20 meeting.

Markus Scholz/DPA, via Getty Images

“We will and must take on this existential challenge,” she said, “and we cannot and will not wait until every last person…

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