»  German finance minister calls for stronger EU

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German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble called for EU member states to hand more powers to the European Union in "major political areas", Der Spiegel news magazine reported Saturday.

"We must transfer more responsibilities to Brussels in major political areas, without national governments being able to block decisions," said Schaeuble in an interview with the weekly to be published Monday.

His appeal comes after repeated calls by Chancellor Angela Merkel for "more Europe" rather than less to fight the bloc's financial crisis.

"Up to now, European member states almost always have the last say," said Schaeuble. "This cannot go on."

Der Spiegel said the finance minister, a key figure in Merkel's conservative Christian Democratic Union party, was in favour of turning the EU's executive Commission into a real government, strengthening the European Parliament and electing a European Union president by universal suffrage.

But Schaeuble cautioned that Europe "will not be a federal state like the United States or the Federal Republic" of Germany. "It will have its own distinct structure."

Schaeuble also warned of the euro single currency disintegrating.

In this case "many things that we have achieved and cherish would be called into question -- from the common market to free travel across Europe".

"But a disintegration of Europe would be absurd. The world is moving closer together, and in Europe each country would go it alone again? This cannot be, must no be and will not be," he added.


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