It’s time for Europe to reassess its partnership with the United States, according to Germany’s Foreign Minister Heiko Maas. He said Europe should form a “counterweight” to the US whenever Washington “crossed red lines”.

In a guest article for German business newspaper Handelsblatt, Maas said Germany wants a “balanced partnership” with the United States, in which it “brings its weight where the US withdraws”.

“Single-handedly, we will fail in this task. The main goal of our foreign policy is therefore to build a sovereign, strong Europe,” Maas wrote.

As reported by Deutsche Welle (DW), Germany’s international broadcaster, Maas’ article comes in the backdrop of strained relations between the US and its European allies after US President Donald Trump imposed tariffs on steel and aluminium imports from the EU and pulled out of a nuclear deal between Iran and major powers.

Europe has been scrambling to persuade Tehran to remain in the 2015 accord. But with European firms wary of far-reaching US financial penalties, it’s proving to be a challenge.

To save the nuclear deal, Maas said Europe needs to set up payment systems independent of the US. “That’s why it is indispensable that we strengthen European autonomy by creating payment channels that are independent of the United States, a European Monetary Fund and an independent SWIFT system,” Maas wrote.