German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble had a long conversation with French students as part of a university program, which did not conclude in his favour, comments the German daily Suddeutsche Zeitung.
Schaeuble visited the elite Science Po University in Paris, in light of the latest Eurogroup, in order to speak to the students about Europe’s future. However, the students appeared to be more interested in Europe’s present and especially in the Greek issue.
According to the German newspaper, the students saw Schaeuble as the man who wished to kick Greece out of the Eurozone, or even worse as the man who had caused so much sorrow to the country and its people. In fact, the student who used this argument during the conversation received a round of applause from his fellow classmates.
The German Finance Minister refuted these accusations and noted that the problems in Greece had started before the crisis. He explained that the EU is governed by rules and obligations and these boundary conditions are based on specific attributes and values. Schaeuble also added that he is against the fragmentation of the European Union. In fact, in 1994, he had expressed his belief that a closed union of states should be formed within the EU.
SuddeutscheZeitung compared Schaeuble’s opinion to that of the French Finance Minister Emmanuel Macron who believes that the European Union structures need to be invented anew, in order to form more democratic institutions. At the same time, the article noted that the pragmatism and ideology are two conflicting fronts within the EU, especially now that the migration crisis is sweeping Europe.
The German finance minister referred to the refugee crisis saying that Germany cannot not cope with the number of refugees arriving at its borders.
Germany’s ability to absorb refugees is limited he said, citing an “underlying nervousness” in the [German] nation amid the biggest influx since World War II.
Dealing with some 10,000 arrivals a week is “impossible,” and Germany can’t continue to take in the same number of refugees in a week that France accepts in a year, Schaeuble said at Po university in Paris on Tuesday.
The tide of refugees “must be managed,” and it’s crucial to secure the European Union’s outer borders such as the Greek-Turkish frontier, Schaeuble said.