Europe’s ‘soul has been strained’ – Merkel

German Chancellor Angela Merkel attends a board meeting following the Hesse state election in Berlin, Germany, October 29, 2018. REUTERS/Hannibal Hanschke

German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, has called on Europe to be united in solidarity against the rise of nationalism and egoism.

Speaking on the future of Europe to MEPs and the President of the EU Commission, Jean Claude Juncker, Merkel said ‘Tolerance is the soul of Europe and an essential basic value of the European idea’.

In recent years the ‘soul has been strained’ by a number of challenges which include crises like public debt and migration.

Merkel said that the best way to overcome these challenges which breed national egoism is to be united in solidarity.

Plucking a principle from German philosopher Immanuel Kant, she said that the weakening of law in one country or attack on press freedom in another was a threat to the whole EU.  Unity and solidarity were therefore, ‘part of our common European DNA’.

Merkel also discussed the creation of a European army which would be an addition to NATO and would be a driver towards preventing future wars between European nations.

Concluding her speech, she told the room, “Europe is our best chance for peace, prosperity and a good future. We must not let this chance slide; we owe this to ourselves and to past and future generations. Nationalism and egoism must never have a chance to flourish again in Europe. Tolerance and solidarity are our future. And this future is worth fighting for”.