Brexit will have 'consequences' for the UK says Olaf Scholz
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Olaf Scholz, 63, is the front-runner to take over as Germany’s next chancellor as Angela Merkel steps down. His Social Democrats (SPD) swept up a small majority in the recent election, leaving Mr Scholz with the task of attempting to form a coalition government that provides Germany with the stability it so desperately needs.
One of Mr Scholz’s key tasks in his attempts to form a government is to maintain European stability – the antithesis of Brexit.
Germany is dependent on a stable EU, just as the EU is dependent on the membership of Germany, its biggest economy.
In his attempts to show his commitment to the bloc, Mr Scholz has launched numerous attacks on Brexit over the course of his campaign.
Most recently, he spoke to Der Spiegel in a tell-all interview, in which he called Brexit “misleading”.
Mr Scholz said it was important for politicians to “create security in changing times”.
He said: “People know that, unlike a few decades ago, there are a few countries with industrial capabilities similar to ours. This creates a feeling of uncertainty.
“It is also why right-wing populist parties are on the rise in Europe’s rich societies, why Donald Trump succeeded and why there was a majority for Brexit.
“Their misleading promise is that we can return to the past. We have to have answers to that.”
He said that rather than offer such a “return to the past”, industries instead need to modernise so that “we will still have good jobs in 10, 20 or 30 years”.
He said: “Many fear that, at some point, we will be gazing sadly at the prosperity of other continents.
“The voters want us to tackle the tasks that are facing us. That’s what people told me in the steel mills, the chemical companies, the mechanical engineering companies and in the car industry.”
Mr Scholz said he believes Germany could lead the way in modernising industries, as well as climate change.
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He said: “Germany must dare to lay the technological and industrial foundations for the future.
“And the aim is to become a climate-neutral industrialised country in just under 25 years. This can create new confidence.”
This isn’t the first time Mr Scholz has used Brexit to prop up his arguments for a prosperous German future.
Speaking at a campaign rally before the September election, he said: “Why did Britain vote for Brexit if it was against its own interest? Why did America vote for Trump?
“I believe it is because people are experiencing deep social insecurities, and lack appreciation for what they do.”
He went on to say this insecurity is not just a German problem, stating this “dissatisfaction and insecurity [is] not just in the US or the UK but in the Netherlands, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Norway, Austria or Germany – countries that may look from the outside like they don’t have any problems at all.”
He argued that lower-skilled work needs to be prioritised for and recognised for the huge impact it has on society.
He said: “Among certain professional classes, there is a meritocratic exuberance that has led people to believe their success is completely self-made.
“As a result, those who actually keep the show on the road don’t get the respect they deserve. That has to change.”
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