German FM Siegmar Gabriel criticized the harsh reaction of his CDU/CSU colleagues toward SPD leader Martin Schulz's proposal to promote the idea of a so-called "United States of Europe," Tagesschau reported.
Members of the conservative party on Saturday rejected the SPD chairman's idea of deeper integration within the EU, but Gabriel urged them to refrain from attacking someone who proposes new ideas.
"Politics is often criticized for not having any visions," Gabriel said. "Now someone has an idea — namely, Martin Schulz — about how to move forward with Europe, but everyone falls upon him."
According to Gabriel, Europe must become an institution "representing European citizens on the global level."
In the "changing world," national states are incapable of withstanding global challenges on their own, he argued, adding that "if we do not stand together, then our children will have no voice" on the international stage.
The transformation of the EU into a more deeply integrated bloc is supposed to take place by 2025.
In his recent speech, the SPD leader stated that the concept of a national state has become outdated. The initiative, however, was criticized by his opponents as a move that might increase tensions in the European community.