Europe stands on the brink of collapse unless France and Germany can step forward and show leadership, French Prime Minister Manuel Valls warned in a visit to Berlin Thursday.
Valls also acknowledged that Marine Le Pen of the country’s right-wing National Front could win next year’s election, according to comments reported in AFP, connecting her with the same sentiment that led to the election of Donald Trump last week and the success of the Brexit referendum earlier this year.
“This means that the balance of politics would change completely,” he said, cautioning that there was presently a “danger presented by the extreme right”.
The Prime Minister said France would need to continue a set of reforms that include lowering the country’s corporate tax rate and called on Germany to also take a leadership role investing around the continent. Economic uncertainty, refugees and terrorism are among the issues that divide the continent and threaten to tear apart the European Union. A slew of right-wing politicians have risen in popularity in recent years promising a different approach. Elections in Austria next month and in France in 2017 could bring right-wing populists to power.
“Of course there are risks in France,” Valls said, according to the AFP. “I am struck by the tone of the public debate.”