EU could fall apart if populists win Dutch, French elections: Germany's Vice-Chancellor Gabriel

German Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel speaking on the economic outlook for 2017 in Berlin on Jan 25, 2017.
German Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel speaking on the economic outlook for 2017 in Berlin on Jan 25, 2017. PHOTO: REUTERS

BERLIN (Reuters) - German Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel warned on Thursday (Jan 26) that the European Union could fall apart if populists in France or the Netherlands win in elections this year.

"The French presidential elections this spring are bitter fateful elections for Europe," Gabriel told the Bundestag lower house of parliament.

He added: "After Brexit last year, if enemies of Europe manage again in the Netherlands or in France to get results then we face the threat that the largest civilization project of the 20th century, namely the European Union, could fall apart."