BERLIN, May 20 (Xinhua) -- Just ahead of the European elections, German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier reaffirmed the importance of a strong, united European Union (EU) for Germany on Monday.
"If we want good jobs, then we need industrial added value. And if we want industrial value creation, then we need a united, strong Europe," stressed the German president at a BMW plant in Leipzig.
Steinmeier noted that Brexit "will not solve the homemade problems but rather exacerbate them" and warned that Britain's withdrawal from the EU had deepened the divisions in society and "would not bring industry back to the UK".
Germany should do "the exact opposite" to Brexit and avoid "the dead end of the populist struggle," stressed Steinmeier.
If Germany wanted to remain a strong industrial location, it could only do so with open markets and in the EU.
The German president noted that the country's automotive industry was globally networked more than most other global industries and benefitted from the euro as well as the fact that Europe advocated free and fair world trade.
Steinmeier also criticized U.S. President Donald Trump for his repeated threats to impose tariffs on the German car industry.
Steinmeier said that he supported the European Commission's clear rejection of Trump's threats to impose customs duties on German cars.
The German president concluded his speech by calling on German citizens to participate in the European elections on Sunday and to strengthen democratic forces.
"A democratic Germany in a united Europe, that is extremely great luck," Steinmeier emphasized.
"We are at home in Germany, but Europe is our second home! It is worth working for this great happiness. It is worth fighting for, and certainly going to vote on Sunday," the German president concluded.
According to a recent poll by the Forsa Institute, more than half of Germans were interested in the upcoming elections.
A survey conducted by the Bertelsmann Foundation also showed, however, that for the 2009 European elections, the difference between the intention to vote and actual turnout among Germans was 13 percentage points.