German ex-chancellor Schroeder for sole EU finance minister

7th November 2013, Comments 0 comments

Europe needs more integration, including a single finance minister for the bloc, if it is to remain competitive in the years to come, former German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder urged Thursday.

He warned however that Britain would do its best to block any attempts to bring the 28-member European union closer together, which would imply handing over more powers to Brussels.

"The EU's political structure cannot remain static," Schroeder told an economic forum in Bregenz, in western Austria.

"We need... to press ahead with Europe's political unity, towards a kind of European federation," he urged.

Among other moves, the 28-member European Union needed to appoint a single EU finance minister who would have the power to discipline states that failed to obey the rules, such as during the recent debt crisis.

Schroeder warned however: "The problem has a name, and that's Britain. As long as the British block these moves, nothing will happen."

"The failure to implement steps that were decided four years ago by the G-20 in Pittsburgh to restrain the financial sector, has much to do with the City of London," he went on.

"Those who are willing to have more integration should not be bound by those who aren't."

Schroeder also called for Turkey to be admitted in the EU and for a closer partnership with Russia, if Europe wants to compete economically with the US and a rising China.

"Europe needs Russia's resources, and our economies needs its market," he said.


© 2013 AFP

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