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Sunday 25 September 2016

Brexit would shake EU, says German foreign minister

Published 16/06/2016 | 01:16

Frank-Walter Steinmeier said that if Britain leaves the EU
Frank-Walter Steinmeier said that if Britain leaves the EU "things wouldn't just carry on as 28 minus one the following day" (AP)

Germany's foreign minister says the European Union would be shaken by a British vote to leave and would have to ensure that it did not ultimately lead toward the bloc's disintegration.

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Frank-Walter Steinmeier said that if Britain goes "things wouldn't just carry on as 28 minus one the following day".

He said: "It would shake the European Union (and) we would have to assure each other that the European Union continues to stick together - and that a very successful, decades-long integration process does not in the end turn to disintegration."

Earlier, the German defence minister said she feared the EU's balance could be affected by a Brexit.

Ursula von der Leyen said the EU needs a mixture of grand ideas, passionate defence of European ideals, pragmatic solutions - and doubts.

She was quoted as saying: "The Germans tend toward enthusiasm on European questions, the French toward grand pathos, the Italians impress with their ability to improvise - the British ground all that with their scepticism, understatement and terrific pragmatism."

She added that "if the British leave the EU, lofty ideas would dominate", and the bloc could have trouble staying down to earth.

The minister added that Britain "has in Europe a lever to increase its influence".

Press Association

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