17 August 2013, 14:47

Germany: Guard your democracy, fight right-wing extremism, Merkel calls

Ангела Меркель

Europe must fight right-wing ideas and movements to protect its democracy, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Saturday as she prepared to visit a Nazi concentration camp next week.

"We must never accept that such lines of thought have a place in our democratic Europe," she said in her weekly video podcast. 

Merkel plans Tuesday to visit the Dachau concentration camp outside Munich. She described herself as moved that a survivor of the camp, Max Mannheimer, the chairman of the committee of former Dachau prisoners, had invited her.

She is travelling there with a "feeling of shame and shock," she said, "because what happened in the concentration camps is and remains unfathomable."

"We know that today we live in a democracy, but we also know that this democracy is always at risk," she warned.

She called it "mortifying," for example, that Jewish establishments in Germany must stay under police watch "because otherwise we must always worry that they will be desecrated."

The government and large parts of society take the danger posed by right-wing extremism seriously, Merkel said.

Germany has established clear punishments through its legal system as well as programmes for those who want to leave right-wing movements, she said. All people are also urged to be aware that the rewriting of history and bogus slogans have no room in German society, she said.

"Civil courage is also part of society here, so that such ideas have absolutely no chance of spreading," she said.

Germany’s Merkel plays instability card to secure next Chancellor term

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has launched a re-election campaign urging Europe to break free of its debt addiction.

After a hiking holiday in Tyrol, the German leader embarked on her five-week promo to secure the third term as the German chancellor, giving numerous interviews where she said that indebted countries faced higher lending costs and interest rates.

“We’ve seen what can happen if you accumulate too much debt,” said Merkel at her first speech in Seligenstadt.

She warned her voters that they were in for higher taxes and probably another instability wave if they backed a Social Democratic Party (SPD)-Green coalition on September 22nd. In her 25-minute speech, Chancellor Merkel never mentioned her SPD challenger Peer Steinbrück, the media did not fail to notice.

“When someone is successful the first thing the SPD and Greens ask is what can be taken away from them,” she stated. “Germany is well-placed today. But if we don’t make progress very quickly we could run into situation where other countries pass us by.”

With just over five weeks to polling day, Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU) has a comfortable and apparently steady 15-point lead over Steinbrück’s SPD. Election analysts say she is on course to become post-war Germany’s third three-term leader, following Konrad Adenauer and Helmut Kohl.

Voice of Russia, Irish Times, dpa

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