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Published: Thursday March 27, 2014 MYT 4:30:02 PM
Updated: Thursday March 27, 2014 MYT 4:34:02 PM

Ukraine crisis may boost big parties in EU vote - German Finance Minister

BERLIN (Reuters) - The crisis in Ukraine could motivate European Union citizens to vote for mainstream parties in the EU parliamentary elections in May and dampen the chances of populists and Eurosceptics, the German finance minister said on Thursday.

Veteran politician Wolfgang Schaeuble from Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservative Christian Democrats (CDU) told business daily Handelsblatt the crisis may remind voters of the value of European unity and encourage them to get out and vote.

"Then turnout would rise and Eurosceptic forces may perform worse than many fear," said the minister, adding, however, that the growing popularity of anti-EU movements in several member states, including France, was "not a good development".

Some pundits expect Eurosceptics to be the big winners in May elections to the European parliament, possibly even taking around 20 percent of the seats.

Schaeuble also urged the European Commission to expedite the final details of a European banking union so that it can start, as planned, in November following last week's deal.

Asked if banking union could take effect in November, Schaeuble said: "Yes. But the Commission must do its bit," adding that he was also relying on the European Central Bank.

"The EU Commission must present its plan as quickly as possible on the detail of how the bank levy would shaped. Until now we have received nothing," he said.

(Reporting by Madeline Chambers; Editing by Stephen Brown)

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