Lesezeit 12 Min

"Britain is a leading nation"

German finance minister Wolfgang Schäuble warns of the dangers of Brexit, talks about the EU’s crisis of confidence, and considers the English fear of the penalty kick.

Christiane Hoffmann
Christian Reiermann
Lesezeit 12 Min

Lesen Sie hier die deutsche Version: "Großbritannien ist Führungsnation"

SPIEGEL: Minister Schäuble, you are the only top German politician who has travelled to Britain to campaign for the country to remain in the EU. Why is everyone else holding back? Is German support not welcome in Britain?

Schäuble: I also, of course, asked myself whether it is helpful for German politicians to be telling British voters what to do. I put the same question to my British counterpart, George Osborne, who had asked me to talk about the issue in London. He allayed my fears, and so I explained to the British public why I believe that it is better for the EU and Britain if voters decide against Brexit.

SPIEGEL: Polls show that the outcome of the June 23 referendum is completely up in the air. If the British vote against the EU, your project for achieving ever closer integration in Europe will be on the verge of failure.

Schäuble: I hope and believe that the British will ultimately decide against Brexit. The withdrawal of Britain would be a heavy loss for Europe.

SPIEGEL: Why is it better for the EU if the British remain? They have repeatedly distanced themselves from the EU in recent years.

Schäuble: Britain is one of the strongest economies in the EU, and London is Europe’s largest financial centre. Britain plays a leading role in all matters of foreign and security policy. That is why Europe is stronger with Britain than without it…

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Nr. 24/2016