Europe must plot its own course, says Merkel

After summits with US President Trump, German Chancellor Angela Merkel says Europe must take its fate into its own hands.
Dr Angela Merkel at a joint campaigning event of the Christian Democratic Union and the Christian Social Union in Munich last Saturday.
Dr Angela Merkel at a joint campaigning event of the Christian Democratic Union and the Christian Social Union in Munich last Saturday.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

BERLIN • German Chancellor Angela Merkel yesterday said Europe must plot its own course, as she plunged back onto the campaign trail ahead of national elections in September.

A day after returning from a Group of Seven summit, Dr Merkel sought to shore up support in her bid for a fourth term in a Bavarian beer tent, speaking to supporters of her Christian Social Union (CSU) sister party, which has been hostile to her refugee policy.

"We Europeans must really take our destiny into our own hands," she told CSU supporters spread out on benches drinking beer and eating pretzels in Munich.

"Of course, we need to have friendly relations with the US and with the UK and with other neighbours, including Russia."

Even so, "we have to fight for our own future ourselves", she said.

Dr Merkel said special emphasis was needed on warm relations between Berlin and newly elected French President Emmanuel Macron.

After her Christian Democratic Union (CDU) won three state elections this year, Dr Merkel made her first national campaign appearance in the Bavarian capital promising a stable administration and warning against a Social Democratic-led government.

Germany will hold its parliamentary elections on Sept 24.

"We don't need any experiments" with a left-wing government, Dr Merkel told the CSU supporters. "We need a stable government for Germany and we'll fight for it together."

Polls show the Chancellor, in power since 2005, on course to be re-elected for a fourth term.

A poll, published last Tuesday, showed CDU and the pro-business Free Democratic Party (FDP) winning enough seats to govern together.

The poll, conducted by Forsa for Stern magazine and RTL television, showed the CDU on 39 per cent, 14 percentage points ahead of the Social Democratic Party.

The FDP was in third place for the first time in many years on 9 per cent after pulling ahead of the Left party and the far-right Alternative for Germany party.

The FDP served as junior coalition partner to the CDU and the CSU for almost half of federal Germany's post-war history, but dropped out of Parliament after the 2013 election when it failed to win the minimum 5 per cent.

BLOOMBERG, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 29, 2017, with the headline 'Europe must plot its own course, says Merkel'. Print Edition | Subscribe