BERLIN (MNI) – German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble in a newspaper interview published Tuesday reaffirmed the government’s stance that joint eurobonds in the Eurozone are conceivable only once fiscal union has been achieved.
Schaeuble told the German business daily Handelsblatt that “a real fiscal union” is necessary before the idea of a joint debt management in the currency zone can be approached, stressing that such a fiscal union is a medium-term project. On Monday, government spokesman Steffen Seibert had reminded that Germany strongly opposes eurobonds as a tool to combat the crisis. “Eurobonds are under no circumstances a solution now,” he said. Germany sees Eurobonds as a possibility only in the distant future when a real fiscal union has come about in Europe, he said.
Schaeuble said in the interview that a banking union could be gradually achieved in the European Union, as proposed by European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso. On Monday, Chancellor Angela Merkel and Barroso said that along with short-term measures to counter the crisis there is need of deeper European integration over the medium term.
The Commission president explained that this may include a banking union: “Some elements of this banking union will be more integrated financial supervision and also more integrated deposit guarantees.” Merkel said that systemically relevant banks in Europe need to come under a “specific European supervision,” adding, though, that “these are medium-term goals.” In other remarks, Schaeuble told Handelsblatt that Germany supports the introduction of a financial market tax similar to the stamp duties in the U.K. and France in as many EU member states as possible. This taxation regime should also cover derivatives, he explained.
Asked by the newspaper if an exit of Greece from the Eurozone is a realistic scenario, Schaeuble replied, “Greece has to decide on its own.”