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EU Officials Get 3/10 for Handling of Euro Zone Crisis: Schulz

Wednesday, 22 May 2013 | 12:00 PM ET
AFP | AFP I Getty Images

European parliament president Martin Schulz gave European Union (EU) officials a measly three out of ten for their handling of the euro zone crisis, in an exclusive interview with CNBC on Wednesday.

Speaking to CNBC in Brussels, Schulz gave the European Commission a scathing review in terms of their progress so far.

"If the management of the euro zone and the European sovereign debt crisis is marked between one and ten – no more than three in my eyes," Schulz said.

Last week, the EU's statistics office reported that the euro zone economy contracted for the sixth consecutive quarter in the first three months of 2013, putting further pressure on EU officials to try and solve the ongoing crisis.

(Read More: Germany in 'Stagnation,' Top Merkel Advisor Warns)

In his interview with CNBC, Schulz also criticized German Chancellor Angela Merkel's view that harsh austerity, rather than growth-orientated policies, is the answer to the euro zone's woes.

"Angela Merkel and her government have a certain political message, which in Europe is called austerity. I call it unilateral cuts in public budgets without taking into account growth," he said.

(Watch This: Eurozone:Trading on Politics is Too Difficult)

"The precondition for economic re-launch, and also for the management of sovereign debt, is you need growth, and via growth you need more revenues for the public budget. The trouble is people are always speaking about the spending, and never about the revenues. This is in my eyes a mistake."

Schulz added that Merkel's emphasis on austerity would not change before Germany's upcoming federal election on September 22, 2013.

(Read More: Tax Evasion Dangerous for Europe: Schulz)

"Angela Merkel will not change the message, which has been a successful one until today in Germany, before the election," he said.

But Schulz warned that if the euro zone crisis were to worsen, Germany would not be able to escape its impact.

"If the EU goes more-and-more in the direction of a deeper crisis, sooner or later the crisis will arrive in Germany," he said.

Germany's economy has held up relatively well amid the euro zone crisis, but weaker growth in the past few quarters has raised concerns about its resilience. German gross domestic product rose by only 0.1 percent in the first quarter of this year,having contracted by 0.7 percent in the final quarter of 2012.

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