German minister calls for elected EU president

March 03, 2012 - 10:34:05 pm

BERLIN: Germany’s foreign minister called for a European Union president directly elected by the bloc’s voters and an EU constitution ratified by referendum, in an interview to be published today.

“We need political figures with whom people throughout Europe can identify,” Guido Westerwelle told the Welt am Sonntag newspaper.

“That’s why I’m in favour of a direct election of the European president, who will have to campaign across Europe beforehand,” he said, according to extracts from the interview released Saturday.

“It could give a new impetus to Europe.” Westerwelle added, “Europe needs a real constitution on which citizens would decide by referendum”, and suggested a two-chamber European parliament comprising elected representatives and government leaders respectively. The German minister was vague about the timing for such a move, but said, “If we want to do something in the next few years we will have to start now.” AFP