Change Edition

Germany's Schaeuble ready to lead Eurogroup after Juncker
Economics

Germany's Schaeuble ready to lead Eurogroup after Juncker

13.05.2012 From our online archive
German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said Sunday that he is prepared to lead the Eurogroup of eurozone finance ministers, a crucial position as the bloc struggles with its debt crisis.

(AFP) German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said Sunday that he is prepared to lead the Eurogroup of eurozone finance ministers, a crucial position as the bloc struggles with its debt crisis.

"As the German finance minister, I must fully commit myself, one way or another," Schaeuble told the weekly Welt am Sonntag following a report that he would have the support of current Eurogroup head Jean-Claude Juncker.

"That is why I am not saying I could not in any case take the presidency" of a group that drafts financial options for approval by eurozone leaders, the German minister said.

Although it is the biggest European economy and the biggest contributor to European Union financial rescue plans, Germany has not managed to place many figures in top EU or eurozone positions.

"What I want above all else, is that the Eurogroup continues to fulfil its role, as has been the case under the presidency of Jean-Claude Juncker," who is also the Luxembourg prime minister, Schaeuble said.

And "I have not heard my colleagues say: My God, anyone but Schaeuble," the German minister added.

Schaeuble would have to be approved by eurozone heads of state and government if he is to succeed Juncker, who has held the position since it was created in 2005.

Responding to a campaign vow by French president-elect Francois Hollande to renegotiate a pact that reinforces fiscal discipline across the 17-nation eurozone, Schaeuble doubted that the new French leader could do that.

European leaders do not "have the right to do away with member states' political discipline," Schaeuble said.

"As long as we do not have a common budget policy, we cannot take the risk of sharing our responsibilities," he added in response to calls for a eurozone bond backed by all member states.