EU PANIC: ‘Blinkered’ nationalism is spreading across Europe, warns Merkel

Monday, November 12, 2018
By Paul Martin

ANGELA Merkel said “blinkered nationalism” was gaining ground in Europe and beyond, as she and French President Emmanuel Macron called for a unified approach to fostering world peace at a forum in Paris on Sunday.

Mon, Nov 12, 2018

The German leader made the comments at the peace conference, which France hopes will become an annual gathering to promote peace, multilateralism and global cooperation. Mrs Merkel warned, adding that people were calling the “European peace project” into question: “The concern I have is that blinkered nationalist views may gain ground once again.” Mrs Merkel was speaking at the Paris Peace Forum, which followed a ceremony in the French capital to mark the centenary of the end of World War One.

Echoing comments made by Mr Macron earlier in the day, she said there was a worrying willingness by some to pursue their own interest and ignore ties that have underpinned peace for more than 70 years.

She said: “Most of the challenges today cannot be solved by one nation alone, but together.

“That’s why we need a common approach. If isolation wasn’t the solution 100 years ago, how can it be today in such an interconnected world?”

Mr Macron, who spearheaded the peace initiative, hopes the forum can help the world avoid repeating past mistakes by promoting multilateralism as a solution to global problems.

He has repeatedly called for “collective action” to tackle crises ranging from climate change, illegal migration, the war on terror and nuclear proliferation.

The 40-year-old leader also wants the gathering to demonstrate the power of reconciliation 100 years after Europe was left in shreds by the first world war.

He told the peace gathering: “Will today be a symbol of lasting peace or a last moment of unity before the world falls into more disorder?

“It depends solely on us.”

The conference was attended by dozens of world leaders, including Russia’s Vladimir Putin and Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan, with one notable exception: US President Donald Trump.

Mr Trump, a proud nationalist who champions an “America First” policy agenda, snubbed the event. He left Paris for Washington shortly after the peace forum opened.

Earlier on Sunday, Mr Macron appeared to take aim at his American counterpart as he warned of the dangers of hardline nationalism, calling it a betrayal of moral values.

He said in a solemn address to mark Armistice Day: “Patriotism is the exact opposite of nationalism: nationalism is a betrayal of patriotism.”

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