BELGRADE – German President Joachim Gauck has urged for a “pause” in EU integration to allow all members to discuss “what they want to achieve at what pace,” lest people forget the dangers of populism and why Donald Trump won the US presidency.
The 78-year-old federal president praised the European Union’s ethos in an interview to Welt am Sonntag, calling it a “great concept” and “a peace project that generations of us had not dared to dream.” He argued, however, that an increase in globalization does not work for everyone at the same pace.
While achieving a closer union, Gauck said, “we were sometimes so fast that not all citizens could or would want to come with us. That makes me worry.”
Gauck stressed that such feelings of discontent are what led to Donald Trump’s victory in the United States.
“As a whole, we should think about a pause during which we discuss which goal we want to reach, and at what speed,” he continued, as he urged European politicians to look beyond campaigns centered on universal values like freedom and security, and to focus more on making the population feel collectively at home in the 28-nation bloc.
“Not everyone feels like a world citizen,” he said.