German FM expects EU election to polarize European politics

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas delivers a speech during the German Foreign Policy Forum in Berlin, Germany, Tuesday, Nov. 27, 2018. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn)

BERLIN (AP) — Germany’s foreign minister says he expects an “enormous polarization” of the political debate in Europe ahead of next spring’s European Parliament election, in which populist parties hope to make strong gains.

The new European Union legislature will be elected in May. European Parliament elections have often served in the past as an opportunity for voters to punish governing parties.

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said Tuesday that this election “raises expectations of an enormous polarization of the political debate in Europe.”

He added that “the disinformation campaign regarding the (U.N.) migration pact is only a quiet foretaste” of that.

Nationalists in various countries, including Germany, have taken exception to the U.N.-backed Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration, a non-binding accord due to be approved next month.

Copyright © 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.