Germany backs idea of EU groups for IMF voting

BERLIN Tue Jul 7, 2009 3:56pm BST

German Finance Minister Peer Steinbrueck arrives for a session at the German lower house of parliament the Bundestag in Berlin, July 3, 2009. Germany supports a French proposal to form ''constituency'' groups within the European Union to reduce EU representation within the International Monetary Fund, Finance Minister Peer Steinbrueck said on Tuesday. REUTERS/Tobias Schwarz

German Finance Minister Peer Steinbrueck arrives for a session at the German lower house of parliament the Bundestag in Berlin, July 3, 2009. Germany supports a French proposal to form ''constituency'' groups within the European Union to reduce EU representation within the International Monetary Fund, Finance Minister Peer Steinbrueck said on Tuesday.

Credit: Reuters/Tobias Schwarz

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BERLIN (Reuters) - Germany supports a French proposal to form "constituency" groups within the European Union to reduce EU representation within the International Monetary Fund, Finance Minister Peer Steinbrueck said on Tuesday.

"This seems like a sensible approach to me so that the weighting might be shifted in favour of developing countries... in the voting structure of the IMF," Steinbrueck said in Brussels.

This could, for example, involve three constituencies for the 16 countries in the euro zone, and a further two for the remaining 11 EU countries outside it, he said.

Euro zone member states are facing pressure to lower their representation at the IMF to make more room for China and other emerging economies, which are playing an increasingly important role in financing the Washington-based fund.

EU states are also reluctant to abandon their national seats at the IMF board and other forums such as the Group of Seven industrial countries, which includes euro zone members France, Germany and Italy, as well as EU member Britain.

On Monday, euro zone finance ministers disagreed over whether they should have a single representation at the IMF, with France and Germany rejecting the idea.

(Reporting by Dave Graham; Editing by Victoria Main)

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