US President Donald Trump has branded Angela Merkel “ridiculous” in his latest attack on European leaders.
During an explosive interview with Bloomberg, the US leader also rejected the EU’s proposal to scrap auto tariffs as “simply not good enough”.
President Trump intensified his rhetoric against Brussels, claiming that the EU’s trade policies were “as bad as China”.
He agreed in July to hold back on his proposed 25 percent tariffs on cars to allow the EU to develop ways to cut down trade barriers.
However, the US administration has become frustrated at the lack of progress from Brussels.
President Trump told Bloomberg that the Europeans were “dying” to make a deal and he added that the US could easily outlast the EU in a negoitation battle.
In response, European Commission President Jean-Claude junker has said that if Washington decides to impose tariffs on vehicles, “then we will also do that”.
The US leader also ratcheted up the risk of an all-out trade war, after saying that the US could pull out of the World Trade Organisation.
The US president said America was being treated “very badly” by WTO rules, adding that if the trade body “does not shape up, I could withdraw us from the WTO”.
He claims the organisation’s decision to admit China in 2001 was a “huge mistake”.
The EU has previously criticised the US for blocking of the appointment of WTO judges, which has created massive gridlock at the trade body.
President Trump also attacked Mrs Merkel in the interview with Bloomberg, hitting out at her relationship with Russia, and Germany’s reliance on Vladimir Putin for oil.
He said: “I think it’s ridiculous that you have NATO to protect yourself from a certain country and then you’re paying a fortune to that certain country. I said what kind of a deal is that?”
Speaking to the trade committee of the European Parliament on Thursday, European Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom said the EU had “profound disagreements” with the United States.
Chancellor Merkel is due to meet Mr Juncker on Tuesday to try and reach a European solution amid the transatlantic tensions.