×

European Union is in 'worst period ever,' German minister warns

The European Union (EU) is experiencing a crisis and needs to regain credibility and public trust, the deputy finance minister of Chancellor Angela Merkel's political party told CNBC.

"We are, without any doubt, within the worst times ever for the European Union," Jens Spahn, deputy finance minister of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU), told CNBC on Wednesday. The CDU governs in Germany with its Bavarian sister party, the Christian Social Union (CSU).

Spahn noted the region's migration crisis, attempts to combat terrorism and a lack of unified policy towards problems in the Middle East were among the issues that had divided the region.


A boy plays in a mud puddle at a makeshift camp of the Greek-Macedonian border near the Greek village of Idomeni, on March 8, 2016, where thousands of refugees and migrants are trapped by the Balkans border blockade.
Dimitar Dilkoff | AFP | Getty Images
A boy plays in a mud puddle at a makeshift camp of the Greek-Macedonian border near the Greek village of Idomeni, on March 8, 2016, where thousands of refugees and migrants are trapped by the Balkans border blockade.

"What we really do need now is that we can regain trust by showing that we can solve problems at a European level. The problems of securing our EU border when it comes to migration and refugees, that we work together on fighting terrorism or that we have a common neighborhood policy towards northern Africa and the Middle East," he said.

"So far every member state has its own policy and we should do it together – then people will see that working together has an added value and that is what is needed now."

On the economic front, Spahn said that the euro zone was lacking growth but stressed that the problems stemmed from a lack of reform at a national level.

"We do need more growth in Europe and in the world, without any growth there won't be inflation and without inflation there won't be rising interest rates, so we need growth. But the problem is that at big meetings of the IMF or G-20 we all agree in the declarations that we need to do structural reforms but back home in our countries and national states, we don't do what is necessary – not in Germany nor in other countries," he said.

"So we really do need these discussions in domestic politics here in Germany, in other countries, in the U.S. too on what kind of reforms we need, to build up an environment for more investments which will create growth. Central banks can't do this, we have to do the structural reforms."

Follow CNBC International on Twitter and Facebook.