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German economic minister: The European Union could be finished
Leave EU supporters wave Union flags and cheer as the results come in at the Leave.EU referendum party at Millbank Tower in central London early in the morning of June 24, 2016. First results from Britain's knife-edge referendum showed unexpectedly strong support for leaving the European Union on Friday, sending the pound plummeting as investors feared a historic blow against the 28-nation alliance. / AFP / GEOFF CADDICK (Photo credit should read GEOFF CADDICK/AFP/Getty Images)

German economic minister: The European Union could be finished

Following the surprise exit — or "brexit" — of the United Kingdom from the European Union last June, 58 percent of Germans wanted German Chancellor Angela Merkel to refuse to compromise with Britain following the brexit referendum.

The same poll had 79 percent of Germans saying they saw the EU as a project for peace and 75 percent saying it protected individual freedom. But German Vice Chancellor and Economic Minister Sigmar Gabriel is beginning to warn the German people that they may need to learn to cope without the security of the bureaucracy, as the EU's dissipation is a very real possibility.

It was clear in June that the other 27 EU member countries didn't share Britons' disdain for a centralized European bureaucracy, and they were determined to take a hard line against new British Prime Minister Theresa May to fight to keep the system they loved.

And it's little wonder why, as  Gabriel admitted to Der Spiegel magazine: "Because Germany is the biggest beneficiary of the European community - economically and politically."

And so Germany has maintained a stance of austerity — a fiscal policy that is characterized by high government spending — in the euro zone, a stance that leads some international macroeconomists to believe Germany is on track to destroy Europe.

According to Reuters, Gabriel has no intention of backing off his position on austerity:

Asked if he really believed he could win more votes by transferring more German money to other EU countries, Gabriel replied: "I know that this discussion is extremely unpopular."

"But I also know about the state of the EU. It is no longer unthinkable that it breaks apart," he said in the interview, published on Saturday.

Britain has experienced an economic boom since leaving the EU, "as the strongest of the world's advanced economies with growth accelerating in the six months after the Brexit vote," says The Times of London.

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