EU president should be directly elected: German minister

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German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble reiterated his call Wednesday for a European Union president who is elected directly by Europe's 500 million citizens.

Speaking to the weekly Die Zeit, in remarks to be published in the newspaper's Thursday edition, Schaeuble said: "Looking to the future, much more important than a European finance minister -- and I have nothing against a European finance minister as such -- would be to have an EU president."

Electing such a president "would bring Europe a noticeable step forwards. It would change Europe," Schaeuble said.

Asked whether voters should be the ones to elect such a president directly, Schaeuble replied: "Yes. There would be questions at the beginning, such as who could run as a candidate and what language should they speak. But that's not the crux of it."

Schaeuble, a fervent advocate of European integration, said electing a pan-European leader was a "vision for the future, one which is desirable. It would bring the process of European integration forward."

© 2011 AFP

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