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Siim Kallas: Schäuble was one of the de facto leaders of Europe

Former European Commissioner and Estonian PM Siim Kallas remembers German politician Wolfgang Schäuble, who passed away Tuesday evening.

"He was among the de facto leaders of Europe when serving as [Germany's] finance minister. But he was interior minister before that and already influential in the EU and of course Germany," Kallas told ERR Wednesday. "He determined the fiscal policy in Europe, his word carried the most weight at Eurogroup meetings."

Kallas emphasized that Schäuble was a strong representative of classic German fiscal policy. "We could say he was number two to [German Chancellor Angela] Merkel, while it was at times more accurate to say he was Merkel's number one. He was louder and more direct than even Merkel herself. For example, Schäuble was far more rigid on Greece than Merkel, and Greece would not have fared well had his view came out on top. But it was Merkel who decided that Greece would stay and be helped," Kallas recalled.

The MP said he hit it off with Schäuble when serving as European commissioner and the two stayed in touch later.

"He sported very classically German or even classically liberal views, even though he was a conservative. But that counts for little," Kallas remarked.

Schäuble died on Tuesday at the age of 81. He was a member of the CDU and served as Germany's finance minister in Angela Merkel's administration 2009-2017. His position meant that Schäuble had a key role in the European debt crisis.

Wolfgang Schäuble. Autor/allikas: SCANPIX/DPA/Markus Scholz

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Editor: Marcus Turovski

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