Berlin did not force austerity on EU partners, German president says

The austerity policies that the European Union prescribed to its members in recent years were not dictated by Berlin, German President Joachim Gauck said in a Tuesday interview with Italian news agency ANSA.

"There is no austerity forced only by Germany. Decisions on the measures needed to handle Europe's debt crisis were adopted jointly by [EU] member states in the respective fora," Gauck was quoted as saying.

Anti-austerity resentment is strong in Italy and other highly-indebted southern European nations. Gauck is due to meet Italian President Sergio Mattarella on Wednesday in the north-western city of Turin.

With ANSA, the German head of state stressed the importance for the EU to stay united "especially at a time when populist and nationalist movements are having success," and said his country needed to be a more active international player.

"I have been advocating for long for Germany to take on more responsibilities in Europe and the world," he said, specifying that he was not calling for Berlin to take a domineering role over EU partners.

"Probably, there cannot be a strong Europe with a weak Germany," Gauck said.

Last update: Fri, 24/06/2016 - 08:49

More from Europe

Mogherini: Flight that crashed in Malta not linked to EU activity

The plane that crashed on take-off from Malta was not linked to any EU activity, the bloc's foreign policy chief...

Centre-right opposition wins Lithuania parliamentary election

Lithuania's centre-right Peasants and Greens Union claimed victory Sunday after the second round of parliamentary...

France starts emptying migrant camp near Calais

French authorities started Monday the process of clearing thousands of migrants from a makeshift camp near the...

Five feared dead in Malta air crash

Five people are believed to have been killed when a military aircraft crashed on take-off from Malta on Monday,...

Win expected for conservative opposition in Lithuania election

Lithuania went to the polls on Sunday in the second round of a parliamentary election expected to punish Prime...