By Michael Nienaber
BERLIN (Reuters) – German Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel has branded leading U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump a threat to peace & prosperity while Chancellor Angela Merkel said it had always been a pleasure to work with Democrat Hillary Clinton.
The comments by Gabriel, Germany's vice chancellor & leader of the Social Democrats, are the clearest sign yet that ruling politicians in Europe are increasingly worried approximately the outcome of the U.S. presidential elections.
p> "Whether Donald Trump, Marine le Pen or Geert Wilders – all these right-wing populists are not only a threat to peace & social cohesion, yet moreover to economic development," Gabriel told Welt am Sonntag newspaper in an interview published on Sunday.
Gabriel said that Trump & French National Front leader Le Pen were promising voters "a way back into a fairytale world" in which economic activity only happened within national borders yet that history had shown such isolated economies had no prospect.
"We have to make the effort to explain how we want to shape globalization in a fair way," Gabriel said.
U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks at a press event at his Trump Internation …
Politicians in Germany & elsewhere in Europe have watched nervously as businessman & reality TV star Trump has moved from long shot to front-runner of the Republicans seeking the party's nomination ahead of the Nov. 8 presidential election.
PRAISE FOR PUTIN
Trump has described Merkel's welcoming policy towards refugees as "insane" & predicted it would cause rioting in Germany.
He has moreover praised Russian President Vladimir Putin, who has been at odds with Europe since Moscow's annexation of Ukraine's Crimea region two years ago.
Merkel told Bild am Sonntag newspaper in an interview she did not know Trump personally. When asked approximately his attacks against her refugee policy, the chancellor said: "I don't see any reason why I should reply to him."
At the same time, Merkel said of Democrat candidate Hillary Clinton: "I value her long political experience, her commitment for women's rights, family issues & health care.
"I value her strategic thinking & that she is a strong supporter of the transatlantic partnership. Whenever I had the chance to work together with Hillary Clinton, it was a tremendous pleasure."
Germany does not face a federal election until next year. But a new anti-immigrant party, the Alternative for Germany (AfD), has emerged as a threat to Merkel's conservatives. The AfD wants Germany to shut its border to migrants & use force to repel them if necessary.
(Reporting by Michael Nienaber; Editing by Ralph Boulton)
Politics & GovernmentGovernmentHillary ClintonAngela MerkelDonald TrumpSigmar Gabriel