German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said the European Union can’t be reduced to just a single market, hardening his opposition to U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron’s call for the EU to limit its focus to trade.
Westerwelle, speaking at the International Institute for Strategic Studies in Singapore today, said that the EU was a “fundamentally political project” from the outset. The 27- member bloc is the cornerstone of Germany’s post-World War II security and prosperity, and offers the only plausible response to a globalized economy, he said, according to the text of his speech e-mailed by the Foreign Ministry in Berlin.
“You will witness an EU that will move in the direction of more, not less integration, both in economic policy and foreign policy,” Westerwelle said. “Those who look at the EU only as a single market cannot but go wrong in their analysis.”
Cameron aims to repatriate powers to London from Brussels and hold an in-or-out referendum on the U.K.’s EU membership by late 2017, if he wins re-election. The Conservative leader said in a speech last month that the single market is the EU’s “essential foundation,” and not the euro.
Westerwelle, who said at the time that Britain can’t expect to “cherry-pick” the pieces of the EU that it wants and reject the rest, spelled out a very different vision for Europe in Singapore. Having “defied the doomsayers” to keep Europe together during the debt crisis in the 17-nation euro area, Germany will continue to do so in the future, he said.
“For Germany, the project of European integration is not one policy option among many,” Westerwelle said. “We know that we need a stronger and more united Europe if we want a bright future for our country. We will only be able to assert our values and interests if we Europeans stand together.”
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