Leaders in Spain and Germany voiced concern that the Europe Union faces collapse as a result of anti-establishment forces campaigning to tear down the bloc, singling out their common neighbor France as the potential trigger. Europe’s unprecedented electoral calendar, with ballots this year in France, the Netherlands and Germany — plus possibly in Italy — presents the continent’s “enemies” with the chance to wreck the EU, according to German Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel, a Social Democrat. He cited Brexit’s cheerleaders among the bloc’s foes.
Separately, Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, who saw off his own populist challenge last year, expressed alarm at the French presidential ballot in April and May and September’s parliamentary vote in Germany, elections that will determine the future direction of the two biggest economies in the euro area. Victories for the National Front in France and Alternative for Germany would “destroy” the continent, he said.
“I don’t want to even think about it,” Rajoy, whose People’s Party is a member of the same Christian Democratic umbrella group as Chancellor Angela Merkel’s party, said on Onda Cero radio. “‘That would be a catastrophe.”