WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — The German finance minister characterized the current EU relations to Russia as having “the features of a new systemic conflict.”
“European sanctions are definitely having an impact on [Russian President Vladimir] Putin’s Russia, but we can afford these sanctions only because, and as long as we have a strong economy.”
“The long term conflict [with Russia] will be decided only on the basis of economic strength,” Schaeuble said.
The European Union economy is in the process of recovering, Schaeuble argued, noting slight improvements in GDP growth and in the implementation of structural reforms. He also said unemployment in the EU had declined.
Schaeuble acknowledged the ongoing problems affecting many EU member states whose debt to GDP levels remain high.