The European Union needs to integrate further politically in order to survive and should push aside Britain as the "problem" country risks blocking such a move, ex-German chancellor Gerhard Schröder has warned.
Schröder, who was Germany's Social Democrat chancellor until 2005, said that the City of London had derailed many of the EU's financial reforms that were needed in order to steady the eurozone after the financial crisis.
“The failure to implement steps that were decided four years ago by the G-20 in Pittsburgh to restrain the financial sector, has much to do with the City of London,” he told an economic forum in Bregenz, Western Austria.
“Those who are willing to have more integration should not be bound by those who are not.
"The problem has a name, and that's Britain. As long as the British block these moves, nothing will happen," according to reports.
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The former Social Democrat chancellor's intervention is significant because current German chancellor Angela Merkel, although sympathetic to David Cameron's Euroscepticism, is in coalition talks with the Social Democrats, who are more hostile to Cameron's diplomatic stance.
Schröder went on: “We can assume that Britain is no longer willing to join the euro area. Countries that are not in the euro area cannot prevent greater integration. It’s tough but you cannot say ‘I will not be there but I want a say’.”
“The EU's political structure cannot remain static. We need to press ahead with Europe's political unity, towards a kind of European federation.”