German Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel said that Europe may have to move at different speeds in the future, with Germany and France taking the lead and leaving others to follow later.
“We need in Europe more courage for different speeds in co-operation,” Gabriel wrote in an opinion piece published in Germany’s mass-selling Bild on Friday.
“Some – especially France and Germany – need to lead the way, for example in energy policy or in the co-operation of economic and finance policy. Others can follow when they are ready,” he wrote.
“Not everyone needs to do everything. But we need deeper co-operation under the roof of the European Union.”
The comments of the Social Democrat Vice Chancellor come on the day that British Prime Minister David Cameron holds talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin as part of a whirlwind European tour to try to drum up support for European Union reform.
Cameron has various demands, the thrust of which are to take back powers from Brussels to allow Britain to opt out of what he sees as a dangerous shift to greater political integration.
Gabriel said Europe needed to reform to become more social and fair, and called for more investment and growth to create jobs, as well as a fair distribution of migrants from North Africa.
“The tasks that lay before us are so big, that every country is too small to solve them alone. Even strong Germany. For this reason it’s time for Europe to reform,” he said.