German Chancellor Angela Merkel said the “specters of the past” must be confronted as she warned of the rise of nationalism in Europe and around the globe.
”In Germany, obviously, they always have to be seen in a certain context, in the context of our past, which means we have to be that much more vigilant than others,” in an interview that will air later Tuesday on PBS.
Speaking a day after nationalist groups in the European Union’s parliamentary elections Merkel said “there is work to be done” to squash support for the movements as they continue to appeal to the mainstream.
“We have to tell our young people what history has brought over us and others,” said Merkel, who is in her final term as chancellor after entering the office in 2005.
She said to defeat populist forces, there is a need to show “why we are for democracy, why we try to bring about solutions, why we always have to put ourselves in the other person’s shoes, why we stand up against intolerance, why we show no tolerance toward violations of human rights.”
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Merkel also noted the rise of anti-Semitism in Germany where Felix Klein, the government’s anti-Semitism commissioner, suggested Jews wearing skullcaps
She said Germany has “always had a certain number of anti-Semites among us, unfortunately.”
“There is to this day not a single synagogue, not a single daycare center for Jewish children, not a single school for Jewish children that does not need to be guarded by German policemen,” she continued.
Addressing her contentious relationship with President Trump, Merkel said the two leaders manage to find “common ground.”
She said that her duty as chancellor, like her predecessors, is to build a relationship with the American president.
“One of the most important decisions that [the] United States took after the Second World War, to give Germany and Europe a chance to actually develop themselves, well … that was achieved by the Marshall Plan. America has always defended us,” Merkel said.
Merkel also said the rise of the Green Party, which finished second to her Christian Democratic Union, “has to do with issues that people are interested in the most these days, for example, climate change.”