Europe

The Latest: German official says EU needs UK's 'pragmatism'

  • Irish singer Bob Geldof, right, waves on board a boat taking part in a pro-EU counter demonstration, as a Fishing for Leave pro-Brexit "flotilla" makes its way along the River Thames in London, Wednesday, June 15, 2016. (John Stillwell/PA via AP) UNITED KINGDOM OUT

    Irish singer Bob Geldof, right, waves on board a boat taking part in a pro-EU counter demonstration, as a Fishing for Leave pro-Brexit "flotilla" makes its way along the River Thames in London, Wednesday, June 15, 2016. (John Stillwell/PA via AP) UNITED KINGDOM OUT  (The Associated Press)

  • Leave supporters hold banners and flags as they stand on Westminster Bridge during an EU referendum campaign stunt in which a flotilla of boats supporting "Leave" sailed up the River Thames outside the Houses of Parliament in London, Wednesday, June 15, 2016. A flotilla of boats protesting EU fishing polices has sailed up the River Thames to the Houses of Parliament as part of a campaign backing Britain's exit from the European Union. The flotilla was greeted by boats carrying "remain" supporters. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)

    Leave supporters hold banners and flags as they stand on Westminster Bridge during an EU referendum campaign stunt in which a flotilla of boats supporting "Leave" sailed up the River Thames outside the Houses of Parliament in London, Wednesday, June 15, 2016. A flotilla of boats protesting EU fishing polices has sailed up the River Thames to the Houses of Parliament as part of a campaign backing Britain's exit from the European Union. The flotilla was greeted by boats carrying "remain" supporters. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)  (The Associated Press)

The Latest on Britain's popular vote on whether to remain in the European Union (all times local):

11:20 a.m.

Germany's defense minister says she fears the European Union's balance could be affected if Britain decides to leave.

Ursula von der Leyen said in an interview with the weekly Die Zeit published Wednesday that the EU needs a mixture of grand ideas, passionate defense of European ideals, pragmatic solutions and doubts to succeed.

She was quoted as saying: "The Germans tend toward enthusiasm on European questions, the French toward grand pathos, the Italians impress with their ability to improvise — the British ground all that with their skepticism, understatement and terrific pragmatism."

Von der Leyen added that "if the British leave the EU, lofty ideas would dominate," and the bloc could have trouble staying down-to-earth.

The minister added that Britain "has in Europe a lever to increase its influence."