Germany President Steinmeier defends EU, criticises Brexit - The Statesman

Germany President Steinmeier defends EU, criticises Brexit

(PHOTO: Getty Images)

German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier defended the European Union (EU) and criticised those who wished to undermine it as "irresponsible", in a speech to the European Parliament in Strasbourg.

Steinmeier on Tuesday used his first major foreign policy speech as German President to emphasize the value of the EU and the importance of working hard to ensure its success, Xinhua news agency reported.

Addressing the Brexit, the President said that the slogan of Britain's leave campaign — "take back control" — was a "strong slogan", but he insisted that nationalists could not honour it.


Warning of the dangers of populism, the former Foreign Minister said: "It is not only naive, but also irresponsible to fool people. It is irresponsible to let people think that in a world that is becoming more complex, the answers become easier."

His remarks referenced the Brexit debate when he said, "It is irresponsible to say that in this world, a European country alone can make its voice heard or assert its economic interests."

He also said he agreed with former British Cabinet minister Michael Heseltine that Brexit was "the greatest loss of British sovereignty".

To close his speech, Steinmeier switched from German to English, saying his message for his country was: "Yes, we want Europe! We want to build a better Europe, and we want to be a European Germany."