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Polarized Europe Heads Into Vote With Merkel Slapping Populists

  • Voters in 28 EU countries are making their choice this week
  • German leader says nationalists want to destroy Europe
Angela Merkel, Germany's chancellor, speaks in Zagreb, May 18.

Angela Merkel, Germany's chancellor, speaks in Zagreb, May 18.

Photographer: Oliver Bunic/Bloomberg

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said European voters face a choice between liberal values and destructive nationalism, setting out the stakes this week for an increasingly polarized and fragile continent.

With a multi-day election to the European Union’s parliament concluding on May 26, centrist leaders like Merkel are campaigning against anti-EU parties from the U.K. to Poland that could win enough seats to disrupt the bloc’s policy making. Her chosen stage was Croatia, an EU member since 2013 that fought a nationalist war of independence from Yugoslavia in the 1990s.