Berlin: Leading allies of German Chancellor Angela Merkel warned on Thursday that populists would pose a problem for Europe unless mainstream politicians came up with answers after Donald Trump’s victory in the US presidential election.
Trump’s win has encouraged right-wing parties in Austria, France and the Netherlands, among others. A Politbarometer poll for broadcaster ZDF showed 82 per cent of Germans viewed it as bad or very bad, and 65 per cent expected relations with the United States to deteriorate under Trump’s presidency.
Merkel is widely expected to stand for a fourth term in an election next September and although her conservatives are roughly 10 points ahead of their nearest rivals, her open-door migrant policy has angered many voters.
The right-wing Alternative for Germany (AfD), which has embraced tough anti-immigrant rhetoric, is siphoning supporters from the bigger parties. Founded less than four years ago, it now has seats in more than half of Germany’s state assemblies.
Schaeuble said politicians had to respond by being more inclusive. He later told a group of bankers that Trump’s calls for Europe to shoulder more responsibility for its own defence and security needs would have consequences.
“We Europeans are probably going to have to continue down the path of increasingly doing the job on our own,” he said.
Hans-Peter Friedrich, a conservative from Merkel’s Bavarian sister party, told Bild that voters felt they had no control over things, from European Central Bank policy to immigration. “If there are no answers provided by the main parties in our country, they will turn to populists,” he said.
EU Commissioner Guenther Oettinger, also a senior conservative, said the US election was a warning for Germany.
“Things are getting simplified, black or white, good or bad, right or wrong. You can ask simple questions, but one should not give simple answers,” Oettinger told Deutschlandfunk radio.
Full article: Angela Merkel allies warn: A Donald Trump could happen in Germany too (The Age)