Elections 2024: ‘Far right is trying to ruin our Europe’, Von der Leyen warns at final rally

European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen has accused far-right parties of wanting to “ruin” Europe. She made the statement during the final campaign rally of her conservative CDU-CSU party bloc in Munich. Von der Leyen is seeking a second term at the helm of the Commission.

"Today's Europe is a great gift," Von der Leyen said, warning people not to take the European Union for granted. She said the EU was "being challenged like never before by populists, extremists and demagogues", referring to Marine Le Pen in France and the AfD party in Germany, among others. “These extremists have one thing in common: they want to weaken, destroy and ruin our Europe,” she said, emphasising that she would "never allow that to happen".

Concerning the Russian threat, she called for a stronger common defence policy. “If we want to safeguard peace on our continent, we should not hesitate,” she said. According to her, Europe needs to invest more in its defence and defence industry. “We want a Europe that can defend itself,” she said.

Von der Leyen is also campaigning for a consistent European migration policy and more climate protection.

According to polls, the sister parties CDU and CSU will win the European elections in Germany by a wide margin. Von der Leyen aspires to a second term at the head of the European Commission, which she has led since 2019. She is generally seen as the frontrunner for a second term, but diplomats warn that her bid could be complicated.

Speech by European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen © PHOTO IMAGO

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