Speaking to the Stuttgarter Zeitung, Armin Laschet said “We urgently need to open the border with France”.
Laschet warned that failing to do so would be a betrayal of European ideals.
“The lockdown ends in France on May 11th – that would be a good time to signal to our neighbours that we have a common European response to the pandemic… the past few weeks have been a little too national and too little European.”
Border controls were put in place between the countries in March, with only citizens, residents or people with a “valid reason to travel” allowed to cross the border.
Laschet, from the ruling Christian Democrats, is widely seen as the favourite to succeed German Chancellor Angela Merkel when she steps down.
(article continues below)
See also on The Local:
Former EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker has also criticised the border controls, saying they are contrary to the founding ideals of the bloc and a hindrance on the internal market.
“Anyone who shuts their borders, even if the national public likes it sometimes, is putting the internal market at risk. In this respect, you should be very careful with borders in Europe”.