EU collapse fears as Austria’s Kurz terrified of ‘massive Germany problem’ without Merkel

Angela Merkel heckled during speech in German Bundestag

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Mr Kurz has made a dramatic intervention ahead of this month’s crucial elections in Germany and warned a left-wing alliance could create a “massive problem” for the European Union. Ms Merkel will step down as German Chancellor after 16 years in the role and voters will head to the polls on September 26.

The left-wing Social Democrat party is currently leading many opinion polls and may open the door for a socialist coalition with the Greens.

Mr Kurz has voiced major concerns over the financial impact of the move on the bloc as Germany is the largest economy in the EU.

He said: “Austria is economically closely interlinked with Germany, Germany is the economic locomotive in the European Union.

“If there is a left-wing government in Germany, then that is a massive problem not only in Germany and for Germany, but then it is a massive problem for Europe as a business location.”

The Austrian chief has backed the heir-apparent to Ms Merkel for victory in the election.

Armin Laschet, the leader of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU), is the nomination for the CDU and its Bavarian sister party, the Christian Social Union (CSU).

Mr Kurz described the candidate as a “staunch European” and insisted he is the “right person to lead Germany”.

He said: “So far, he has been very successful in steering and leading the largest German state.

“He is a staunch European, someone we have always enjoyed working with.

“I am convinced that he is the right person to lead Germany for the next few years.”

The latest Kantar poll gave the Social Democrats a four-point lead.

The party led by Finance Minister Olaf Scholz was on 25 percent of the vote – with the Union alliance on 21 points.

With his preferred candidate trailing, Mr Kurz insisted he did not pay much attention to the opinion surveys.

Mr Kurz said: “I’ve read for a long time that the Greens will win, now I read, the SPD will win, in the end the voter decides and not the polling institutes.”

On Tuesday, Ms Merkel issued a passionate plea to voters as she addressed the Bundestag lower house of parliament.

She said: “Citizens have the choice in a few days: either a government that accepts the support of the [far-left] Linke party with the SPD and the Greens, or at least does not exclude it.

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“Or a federal government led by the CDU and CSU with Armin Laschet as chancellor – a federal government that leads our country into the future with moderation.”

Ms Merkel added Mr Laschet would lead a government that stands for “stability, reliability, moderation and the middle ground – and that is exactly what Germany needs”.

Mr Scholz has repeatedly distanced himself from the Linke party.

Speaking on ARD television, he added: “Now is the hour of the citizens.

“They will decide, and the stronger the SPD vote, the better the chances for a good government.”

Additional reporting by Monika Pallenberg.
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