Merkel kicks off her re election campaign

Greek Reporter — German Chancellor Angela Merkel has returned from a three-week Alpine holiday to kick off Saturday her re-election campaign on Saturday with a plea to European solidarity and the values that govern the European Union.

Speaking in Dortmund in the first of 50 planned rallies, she focused mainly on the economy, with a stinging attack on german car manufacturers pressing them to innovate to secure jobs, and win back trust lost by a diesel emissions scandal.

Launching the new campaign slogan of her party,  “For a Germany in which we live well and happily”, and a campaign poster featuring a young woman asleep in a meadow, she also highlighted the importance of the EU for Germany.

“It should be clear that, despite the difficulties, it is in our own interest, in the interests of peace and prosperity that we remain engaged in Europe,” she said.

In this context and referring to the values that govern the EU – “freedom, solidarity, justice, social market economy, protection of human dignity” – the Chancellor asked everyone to refrain from targeting other nations and stop categorizing them.

“We should not generalize and say that Greeks cannot work, or that the Germans have a fetish with austerity. Every person has its own dignity…In Germany, as in any other nation, there are both lazy and hardworking people,” she said.

Merkel is far ahead of her rivals in opinion polls but, wary of complacency setting in among her supporters. Her popularity in said to be based not so much on communicating her party’s policies but rather on the  health of the economy, with solid growth and low unemployment, and a pact between the two mainstream parties in the ‘grand left -right coalition’  to shun the political fringe.

Edited for Apokoronas News