Chancellor Angela Merkel kicked off her re-election campaign on Saturday with a plea to European solidarity and the values that govern the European Union.
Speaking in Dortmund, she focused mainly on the economy, but she also highlighted the importance of the EU for Germany.
“It should be clear that, despite the difficulties, it is in our own interest, in the interests of peace and prosperity that we remain engaged in Europe,” she said.
In this context and referring to the values that govern the EU – “freedom, solidarity, justice, social market economy, protection of human dignity” – the Chancellor asked everyone to refrain from targeting other nations and stop categorizing them.
“We should not generalize and say that Greeks cannot work, or that the Germans have a fetish with austerity. Every person has its own dignity…In Germany, as in any other nation, there are both lazy and hardworking people,” she said.
Merkel is far ahead of her rivals in opinion polls but, wary of complacency setting in among her supporters, she plans 50 rallies in towns and cities across Germany in the run-up to the September 24 election, when she will seek a fourth term in office.