German Chancellor Angela Merkel told European Union (EU) countries Wednesday that the coronavirus pandemic is showing the limits of “fact-denying populism” as she urged the bloc to reach an agreement on an economic recovery package.
Merkel said that the EU “must show that a return to nationalism means not more, but less control,” according to France 24.
Without naming any specific nations, Merkel said: “We are seeing at the moment that the pandemic can’t be fought with lies and disinformation, and neither can it be with hatred and agitation.”
“Fact-denying populism is being shown its limits,” she added. “In a democracy, facts and transparency are needed. That distinguishes Europe, and Germany will stand up for it during its presidency.”
The pandemic has killed more than 100,000 people in the 27 EU nations and sparked what is expected to be the largest recession the continent has experienced in decades.
On Tuesday the EU released a report predicting the bloc’s economy will contract more than initially expected due to coronavirus-related lockdowns.
Merkel on Wednesday joined EU Economy Commissioner Paolo Gentiloni in urging the commission to quickly reach an agreement on the 750 billion-euro stimulus package proposed earlier this year.
“The depth of the economic decline demands that we hurry,” Merkel told lawmakers, according to The Associated Press. “We must waste no time — only the weakest would suffer from that. I very much hope that we can reach an agreement this summer. That will require a lot of readiness to compromise from all sides — and from you too.”