Berlin opposes Moscovici for economic affairs post

  
Former French Finance Minister Pierre Moscovici. [The Council of the European Union]
Former French Finance Minister Pierre Moscovici. [The Council of the European Union]

German media reports that Berlin will strongly oppose a French Socialist taking over the Economic and Monetary Affairs portfolio in Jean-Claude Juncker’s new European Commission. EurActiv Germany reports.

The German government is determined not to let Pierre Moscovici become EU Commissioner of Economic and Monetary Affairs, the Süddeutsche Zeitung reported, quoting sources close to negotiations in Berlin and Brussels.

The newspaper wrote the German government made it clear that it is keeping a close eye on the allocation of the EU's most important economic policy position.

The path mapped out towards balancing the budget should continue, the sources said. Berlin views the Commissioner post for economic and monetary affairs as "very significant", the sources indicated, saying it must therefore be "wisely" filled. France's former Finance Minister, who has been selected for preliminary talks, only partially fulfills the conditions, government sources said.

A few days ago, ongoing controversy over France’s economy and budgetary policy flared again when the country’s Socialist President François Hollande replaced his leftist economy minister with a former Rothschild partner.

France is still stuck in a difficult economic crisis and is currently undergoing strict EU reforms to get its budget back in order. Earlier this week, a heated discussion took place in the EU capital over austerity and reform policy, with urges for France to stick to structural reforms.

>>Read: Commission tells France to urgently speed up reforms

In mid-July, German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble was one of the first to voice criticism of France’s claim to the monetary affairs post.

The deadline for France to get its public deficit under 3% of GDP has already been extended twice, Schäuble said at an event in Freiburg's Centre for European Policy (CEP).

The Commissioner for Economic and Monetary Affairs oversees compliance with the Stability Pact in the European Commission, the centre-right politician explained.

Whether or not France "of all countries" in its current state should be allocated this post "is for smarter people than myself to decide", said Schäuble.

Shortly thereafter, Schäuble released statements saying he had doubts over appointing Moscovici.

He said he was simply referring to the message that might be conveyed, if a French candidate were appointed to this position in the current situation.

"The smart individuals who get to decide must consider this in their decision," he said, adding that the statement “was not a direct reference to Mr. Moscovici".

At a special EU-Summit this Saturday (30 August), EU leaders are expected to fill two top jobs: EU High Representative and President of the European Council. The two choices could affect the organisation of the new European Commission by its President Jean-Claude Juncker.

The Süddeutsche wrote that its sources seemed certain the German government would handover both positions to the Socialists and Social Democrats if the two give up their claim to the Commission's economic affairs portfolio.

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Comments

Mike Parr's picture

"Whether or not France "of all countries" in its current state should be allocated this post "is for smarter people than myself to decide", said Schäuble"

I'm a great deal smarter than you Schauble & there is little or no reason not to give the post to the French.

Eurochild's picture

How about when Moscovici was France's Finance Minister he did very little to enforce the EU agreements on economic and monetery policy, as contained in the Maastricht treaty and the fiscal compact (which only Thatcher-lover David Cameron did not sign).

Considering the whole point of the job of economic and monetary affairs commissioner is to ensure that member-states stick to what has been agreed to, Moscovici can hardly be said to have the right skills for the job.

Let's also consider the fact that Moscovic, and now Sapin's disinclination to make an effort to implement what France has agreed to, as well as the other generally lax French economic and fiscal policies, are the cause of France's woes today.

The Commission has allowed France to miss its targets twice now, and is gearing up to accept France's inability to keep to the targets the French government itself set for a third time. So, pur-leez, this is not about "austerity" and they have been given tons of flexibility.

Joe Thorpe's picture

I could be the silver bullet if the french did get the portfolio, we should back the French just like the Germans backed us over Junker, we're not in the Eurozone so if we're honest its a pointless commission as far as we're concerned, we can block or ignore most of what we don't like.

Antoine's picture

Moscovici should not be the EU finance minister.

The Germans are right!

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