France’s economy minister calls for fiscal transfers in eurozone

French Economy Minister Emmanuel Macron has called for a new start for Europe, telling a German newspaper the eurozone status quo would lead to the currency union’s self-destruction and that fiscal transfers between member states are necessary.

Such a vision is anathema to the mainstream in German politics, with Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government having firmly resisted any form of permanent fiscal transfers to poorer euro zone countries.

But in an interview with the Sueddeutsche Zeitung, Macron said such transfers were essential if the 19-member currency union is to survive.

>>Read: French, German ministers flesh out plans for ‘two-speed Europe’

“If the member states are not ready, as has been the case thus far, for any form of financial transfer in the currency union, we can forget the euro and the eurozone,” he said in the interview, to run in the paper’s Monday edition.

“A currency union without financial equalisation – that’s impossible! The strong must help.”

Fleshing out France’s vision for a European economic government, Macron said he wanted a new euro Commissioner in Brussels to coordinate the economic, finance and social policies of the 19 euro countries.

“The euro-government would be led by a commissioner with wide-ranging powers,” he said, adding that the Commissioner would have the financial means to make investments.

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