Merkel marks 70 years of Marshall Plan amid concern over Trump

Former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger joined the German chancellor in celebrating the day 70 years ago when one of his predecessors kicked off the American embrace of open markets in post-World War II Europe that became known as the Marshall Plan.

BERLIN — German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Wednesday marked the 70th anniversary of the Marshall Plan, remarking pointedly that the U.S. embrace of open markets in post-World War II Europe served America’s own interests.

Then-Secretary of State George C. Marshall outlined an aid plan for Europe in a June 1947 speech at Harvard University that kicked off what became known as the Marshall Plan. The anniversary comes amid concern in Europe and elsewhere about President Donald Trump’s “America first” approach to trade and other matters.

Former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, who joined Merkel in Berlin to commemorate it, said that Marshall’s speech “proclaimed above all the end of American isolationism.”

Neither he nor Merkel referred directly to Trump or his administration. The German leader, however, stressed the importance of standing up for shared values, of balancing interests and trying to create “win-win situations.”

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Marshall backed open markets and wanted to help get Europe back on its feet through close economic ties with the U.S., creating prosperity and stability and securing peace, Merkel noted.

“Of course, that wasn’t an altruistic approach either — it also served, in the best sense, to represent the United States’ own interests,” she said. “The countries of Europe were to be built up as trade and business partners of the U.S.”

Marshall “was convinced that busy trade benefited all concerned,” Merkel added. “We should not forget today how right that is.”

Merkel reiterated that “we in Europe are called on more than ever to recognize that we have our…

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