The Christian Democrat disputed calls by Social Democrat Martin Schulz for the quick creation of a new European order. He voiced a preference for changes suggested by French President Emmanuel Macron.
German Parliamentary President Wolfgang Schäuble voiced his opposition to recent calls by Social Democratic Party (SPD) leader Martin Schulz for the creation of a United States of Europe in the next few years.
Schäuble, a former German finance minister and one of the most powerful politicians in Angela Merkel's center-right Christian Democratic Union (CDU), acknowledged the need for a "stronger Europe," but was skeptical of Schulz's approach.
Schäuble (above) told the Berlin-based newspaper Tagesspiegel am Sonntag that the best way to strengthen Europe was to find the right path forward regarding integration.
"To say that one wants to create a United States of Europe within five years and that those states that don't go along will be thrown out seems a bit shortsighted, to put it politely."
He also noted that in times of fast-paced change people "obviously have the need to hang on to a piece of their own national traditions. And it would be wrong to rob them of the sense of security and connection to their own nations."
Schäuble said he preferred the measures recently put forth by French President Emmanuel Macron, adding: "They are not geared toward an institutional restructuring of the EU but are rather an attempt to move forward without having to change the EU treaty."
He opposed halting European integration, noting that there are many other issues requiring Europe's attention, including migration policy, US tax policy, challenges in Africa and market globalization.
"The world does not allow us to rest," he said. "It's always dangerous to rest during supposedly calm and economically good times."
bik,js/se (dpa, KNA)