German Chancellor Angela Merkel has criticised world leaders who spread “lies and disinformation” and warned the coronavirus pandemic is laying bare the limits of populism.
“As we are experiencing firsthand, you cannot fight the pandemic with lies and disinformation any more than you can fight it with hate or incitement to hatred,” Merkel told the European Parliament on Wednesday.
“Fact-denying populism is being shown its limits,” she added to applause.
Merkel’s remarks were delivered at a meeting of European nations and mark the beginning of Germany’s six-month term at the helm of the European Union presidency.
“In a democracy, facts and transparency are needed,” Merkel said. “That distinguishes Europe, and Germany will stand up for it during its presidency.”
Angela Merkel: “You cannot fight the pandemic with lies and disinformation…the limits of Populism are being laid bare.”— Joyce Karam (@Joyce_Karam) July 8, 2020
From her speech to the EU today: pic.twitter.com/CAZMMkUMrw
While not explicitly mentioning any world leaders by name, it’s clear Merkel condemns the actions of those who have tried to downplay the virus, like US President Donald Trump and Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro.
Merkel is currently serving her last term in office and has led German through the COVID-19 pandemic with one of the lowest death rates in Europe.
As Germany takes the reigns of the EU, Merkel is tasked with orchestrating agreement among the 27-nation bloc on a coronavirus economic stimulus package, worth as much as 750 billion euros.
During her speech, she urged countries of the EU to quickly agree on an economic recovery package, saying “opponents of Europe are just waiting to misuse the crisis for their ends.”
“We must show them all where the added value of cooperation in the European Union lies,” Merkel said. “We must show that a return to nationalism means not more, but less control.”