Trump Hits Out at Angela Merkel, Warns of 'End of Europe'

Donald Trump at his 2016 New Hampshire presidential primary night rally, February 9, 2016. The Republican presidential contender has hit out at Angela Merkel's immigration policy. Reuters/Jim Bourg

What does Donald Trump have in common with the Eurocrats of Brussels?

It's not a question often posed, but both the rambunctious Republican front-runner and some of Europe's top officials and politicians think failure to tackle the refugee crisis could spell the end of Europe as we know it.

Trump on Wednesday hit out at Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, for allowing thousands of refugees into her country. "I think Angela Merkel made a tragic mistake with the migrants," he told French conservative weekly Valeurs Actuelles .

Trump added that failing to tackle the crisis could lead to disaster for the union. "If you don't treat the situation competently and firmly, yes, it's the end of Europe. You could face real revolutions," Trump said.

On the latter position, if nowhere else, he is surprisingly close to the views of European Council President Donald Tusk, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte and Germany's own President Joachim Gauck. All three men have suggested that failure to come up with a better solution to the migrant crisis, and fast, could spell the end at least of the passport-free Schengen area, a cornerstone of the European Union.

"We cannot cope with the numbers any longer," Rutte said at the World Economic Forum in Davos in January.

Elsewhere in the interview, Trump tore into the state of security in Europe.

He said he thought tight French gun laws were partly responsible for the deaths of dozens of people at Paris's Bataclan concert hall during a militant attack in November 2015. "I always have a gun with me. Had I been at the Bataclan, I can tell you I would have opened fire," he said.

Trump added that he wanted to develop warmer relations with Russian President Vladimir Putin. "He (Putin) said I was brilliant. That proves a certain smartness," said Trump.

Trump has won a decisive victory in the New Hampshire primary, taking a third of the vote, the first time the billionaire has translated his strong showing in opinion polls into a victory at the ballot box.