WHEN: Today, Thursday, April 20th
WHERE: CNBC's "Power Lunch"
Following are excerpts from the unofficial transcript of a CNBC EXCLUSIVE interview with CNBC's Chief International Correspondent Michelle Caruso-Cabrera and German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schauble from Washington, D.C., today, Thursday, April 20th. The excerpts aired on CNBC's "Power Lunch" (M-F, 1PM-3PM ET).
All references must be sourced to CNBC.
SCHAUBLE ON THE FRENCH ELECTION AND THE RISE OF EUROSKEPTICISM
Michelle Caruso-Cabrera: Huge event this coming weekend, the French election, can the euro survive the French election?
Wolfgang Schauble: I'm quite optimistic and I think the French people will take a reasonable decision. That means a decision that allows so the euro can survive.
Caruso-Cabrera: When you have more than 40 percent of the electorate at this point saying they support someone who is absolutely a euro skeptic, like Marine Le Pen, or a second candidate, who says his support for the euro is only conditional. As long as he gets to spend the money that he wants to do, as long as he gets to violate a lot of the things that require membership in the euro. How can you be optimistic when such a large percentage of the population doesn't seem to support that?
Schauble: 40 percent is not the majority of a population.
Caruso-Cabrera: No. What do you make of the rise of euro skepticism across Europe? What has gone wrong? Is the euro not working the way it was supposed to?
Schauble I think it's not the matter of the Euro. I think it's a lot of problems. I think some problems are similar to reasons for electoral decision in UK and the Brexit or in the United States and the presidential elections. There is some uncertainty and the speed of change.
Caruso-Cabrera: A lot of people say that the euro is about maintaining peace. But do you know what Marine Le Pen says? She says, "the euro did not bring peace. Peace brought the euro." That it exists because of the peace and that as the peace falls apart, the euro will fall apart.
Schauble: I do not agree with Madam Le Pen, with all due respect. And by the way she is using a lot of arguments in the way that other peoples are responsible for my problems. That is always the message in which demagogues have been very successful: blaming others for their own problems. It may be lovely to listen to for constituencies, but it's not really to be trusted. You have to care on your own problems. Everyone has problems, every state has problems, but you have to solve it yourself and you can ask for solidarity. We prevent a lot of solidarity in Europe but of course solidarity must not be misunderstood as a disincentive not to do what you have to do for example, Greece, in your own interest. Only in your own interest.
Caruso-Cabrera: What about German elections. Any worries?
Schauble: Of course. Elections in a democracy are always a risk. That is fine. But we are quite optimistic that we have the better arguments, that we have the better Chancellor – we have the best Chancellor – but we know it will be a difficult fight in the campaigning and that is democracy and we enjoy it. I am optimistic.
Caruso-Cabrera: The decision to allow so many migrants into Europe – people hold that, the feat of Angela Merkel, and say it was a terrible decision and maybe is leading to the rise of euroskepticism and the far right.
Schauble: Maybe. Maybe on the other hand it is a matter of European pride.
SCHAUBLE ON THE GERMAN ECONOMY
Caruso-Cabrera: I don't know if you've seen some of the commentary when your current account surplus came out last month. One columnist in the UK called you a rogue economy. That you were one of the greatest potential causes of instability in the global economy.
Schauble: There are some writers even in the UK which write bullsh**, with all due respect.
Caruso-Cabrera: Did you say bullsh**?
Schauble: Yes. I don't like it.
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