Germany’s Scholz says weakening EU would be self-destructive

By Thomson Reuters May 8, 2024 | 5:02 PM

FRANKFURT (Reuters) – German Chancellor Olaf Scholz on Thursday denounced calls to weaken the role of the European Union as self-destructive and irresponsible, speaking ahead of EU parliamentary elections in June.

In a video message posted on the government’s website, Scholz said some populists wanted Germany to leave the European Union, others wanted to “wind down” the bloc, and others saw Russia or China as role models.

“What self-destructive insanity!” he said.

Polls predict that Europe’s nationalist and eurosceptic parties will win a record number of votes in June. Voters are expected to punish mainstream parties for failing to shield households from high inflation, curb immigration and deliver decent housing and healthcare.

The co-leader of Germany’s far right AfD, Alice Weidel, earlier this year called for a referendum on Germany’s membership of the EU and for curbing the powers of the European Commission.

Scholz said European unity was paramount amid Russia’s attack on Ukraine and uncertainty ahead of U.S. presidential elections in November.

“How irresponsible can you get, to be calling our united Europe into question in such times?” he said.

(Reporting by Ludwig Burger; Editing by Mark Potter)