German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier has raised concerns about growing political polarization in Germany and beyond.
More and more people are “sticking with their own kind, living in self-made bubbles where everyone always agrees one hundred percent — also on who doesnt belong,” Steinmeier said in a pre-recorded Christmas address, Deutsche Welle reported.
“Wherever you look — especially on social media — we see hate; there is shouting and daily outrage,” the German head of state warned, adding that “I feel that we Germans are spending less and less time talking to each other. And even less time listening to each other.”
While calling for more dialogue within Germany and cautioning against exclusion, the president, who previously served as foreign minister and vice-chancellor, also discussed conflict and polarization beyond Germanys borders.
Steinmeier referred to”burning barricades in Paris, deep political rifts in the United States and anxiety in the United Kingdom ahead of Brexit” and noted that “Europe is being put to the test in Hungary, Italy and other places.”
He praised German democracy but urged Germans to be ready to compromise to maintain its strength.
“Our democracy is strong,” he said. “Reaching compromise does not signal weakness, but rather is a sign of strength. The ability to compromise is the backbone of democracy.”