"For many people, including myself, something changed when we saw the Britons want to leave, when we were worried about the outcome of the elections in France and the Netherlands," Merkel told voters, some of whom wore straw hats with black-red-and-gold hatbands, the colors of the German flag. . . .
"But we have realized in the past few months that Europe is more than just bureaucracy and economic regulation, that Europe and living together in the European Union have something to do with war and peace, that the decades of peace after World War Two would have been completely unthinkable without the European Union," Merkel said to applause.
Many people in the past had taken the EU and its advantages for granted -- such as freedom of speech, freedom of religion and freedom to travel, said Merkel who grew up in communist East Germany.
"You don't have all this in many parts of the world. And that's why it is worth fighting for this Europe," Merkel said.
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