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30 October 2012

Telegraph: Britain 'sorely needed' in EU, says German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble has urged Britain to remain strongly engaged in the European Union, responding to a tide of euroscepticism that Berlin fears could sweep London towards the exit.

Mr Schäuble's plea, delivered during a visit to Oxford University, came days after British Foreign Secretary William Hague mapped out a very different vision of a much looser EU in which Britain would opt out of many policies.

"In my view the British voice is sorely needed in this [European] competition of ideas", Mr Schäuble, known for his passionately pro-European views, told a mainly academic audience at Saint Anthony's College in Oxford. "I firmly believe Europe would be the poorer without this input to our debates. Britain should retain and regain a place at the centre of Europe because this will be good for the European Union."

Ms Merkel echoed his comments on Monday evening at a gathering of members of her centre-right Christian Democrats (CDU) in the northern German town of Schwerin. "Britain is an important partner in the European Union ... Britain has to some extent other ideas [about Europe], it does not want such close integration. But from the German perspective, from the point of view of our interests it is an important member of the EU", she said.

Full article

© The Telegraph

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