Merkel Vows to Defend EU Saying Europe’s Condition Pains Her

  • Chancellor cites ‘war and peace’ choice amid rising populism
  • Speech on eve of post-Brexit summit by 27 EU leaders

German Chancellor Angela Merkel expressed concern about the state of the European Union and said she’ll do everything she can to keep the bloc from splintering.

“I’m not exaggerating when I have to take note that Europe is not at all in a good state,” Merkel said in a speech at Potsdam near Berlin on Thursday. “That pains me, and I’m making every effort to allow us to rekindle that for which the community once stood.”

A day before 27 EU leaders meet in Bratislava to start charting the union’s future after Britons voted to leave, Merkel’s strong language underscores the stakes for Europe and for her as she weighs running for re-election next year. Europe can’t shut out globalization or ignore wars and poverty elsewhere in the world, she told a conference on media freedom.

“It’s a matter of war and peace,” she said, citing “nationalism, egoism and tendencies toward radicalization that are hindering or even torpedoing joint European action.”

“I, for one, will never relent in pushing for a common Europe,” she said.

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