May 11, 2017 / 11:30 AM / 6 months ago

Germany's Schaeuble calls for euro zone parliament - La Repubblica

ROME (Reuters) - German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble wants to increase in integration of euro zone countries by creating a parliament for the currency bloc.

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble attends the weekly cabinet meeting at the Chancellery in Berlin, Germany April 12, 2017. REUTERS/Hannibal Hanschke

Schaeuble said in an interview published on Thursday in Italy’s La Repubblica that he discussed the idea, which would go hand in hand with his favoured plan to create a continental bailout fund, with French President-elect Emanuel Macron.

“We could strengthen the mechanisms,” he told the newspaper. “We could create a euro zone parliament made up of members of the European Parliament, which could have consultative powers over the European Stability Mechanism.”

German parties are squabbling over how to respond to Macron’s proposals for closer European integration, which include a shared budget and finance minister for the bloc.

Macron’s plans would require changes to European Union treaties, and Schaeuble said it was “unrealistic” they would get the necessary unanimous approval from all governments, some of whom would hold referendums on it.

But he signalled openness to discuss finding ways to strengthen European integration and reduce reliance on the European Central Bank, which is pumping tens of billions of euros every month into the economy.

Reporting by Isla Binnie Editing by Jeremy Gaunt

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