In a startling admission the 57-year-old Social Democrat wrote: “The financial crisis and the handling of the refugee wave have starkly revealed the weaknesses of the European unification project.”
He added: “The European integration project is now being met with hostility more than ever, from inside and from outside, from populists who make up simple solutions, from autocrats who are against our values. They all want to strip down or even destroy Europe.”
But said that meant the EU needed to have more not less integration, arguing: “We will have to deepen the economic and monetary union further.”
Germany's Vice-Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel 'MERKEL MUST GO': Brussels protest against German Chancellor Tue, February 14, 2017
Angry campaigners held placards with slogans reading 'Merkel not welcomed' and 'Merkel must go' following a spate of terror attacks against Germany.
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Protest on the sidelines of Angela Merkel's official visit in Brussels
Mr Gabriel also said that Brexit was a “wake up call” to the European alliance saying that the bloc needed to decide: “where we want to go with our Europe and what we are willing to invest.”
However, despite that admission he argued that Europe must continue along the “road” to unification as no European country “can do it alone anymore”.
He argued: “Together we are distinctly more and distinctly stronger than the sum of all individual states. For this we need to get closer together.”
German Vice-Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel
For Mr Gabriel this not only meant monetary unity with the euro as the single currency but also hinted that a European defence force needed to be established.
He wrote: “Regarding the European foreign and security policy: It is time to say goodbye to the notion that we are not responsible for our security in Europe.
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“The phrase is right, that Europe must finally grow up. The partnership with the US and NATO are the cornerstones of the transatlantic community. But the European Union must be able to cope with crises and conflicts in its own neighbourhood.
Migrants cross the border into Germany
“First steps have been taken, others have to follow.”
He also called for the EU to establish stronger external borders with those countries outside the EU while also wanting stronger internal security, especially in light of recent terrorist attacks.
He ended his article for RP Online with a rallying cry: “We want to stand together, so that the signal from Rome will be: we Europeans tackle things, we defend Europe, we want to make it better! If we do not let ourselves be frightened, we will revive the European spirit courageously and confidently, include everyone, and also question some national feelings.”
Sigmar Gabriel and German Chancellor Angela Merkel
Mr Gabriel’s comments come after he stated that Germany, despite already being the single biggest contributor to the EU budget, should pay more because it profited the most from the bloc.
He wrote in an article for the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung: “Every euro that we make available for the EU budget, comes back to us — directly or indirectly.
“So what if we do something unheard of in the next debate on European finances? Instead of calling for a reduction of our EU payments, we should show willingness to pay even more.”