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european disunion

EU breakup 'is no longer unthinkable,' says German vice chancellor

The breakup of the European Union in the relative near future is not inconceivable, German Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel told Der Spiegel in an interview published Saturday.

"I know that this discussion is extremely unpopular," said Gabriel, who is the German analog to a vice president. "But I also know about the state of the EU. It is no longer unthinkable that it breaks apart." If that happens, he continued, "our children and grandchildren would curse us, because Germany is the biggest beneficiary of the European community — economically and politically."

Gabriel is expected to challenge Chancellor Angela Merkel for her seat later this year. He argues that German taxpayers should do more to support other European countries, while Merkel leans toward austerity.