German finance minister says financial transfers in euro zone necessaryStaff Writer | May 13, 2017
German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble told a magazine he shared French president-elect Emmanuel Macron's view that financial transfers from richer to poorer states are necessary within the euro zone.
Europe Macron is due to meet with Merkel on Monday
Asked whether Macron was right in believing Europe and the euro zone need a "transfer union", Schaeuble told Germany's Der Spiegel magazine: "You can't build a community of states of varying strengths without a certain balance."
"That's reflected in the European budget and bailout programmes, for example, and that's why there are net contributors and net recipients in Europe. A union can't exist if the stronger members don't vouch for the weaker ones," he added in an interview to be published Saturday.
Some conservatives around Merkel worry the euro zone could develop into a "transfer union" in which Germany is asked to pay for struggling states that resist reforms.
Schaeuble, a veteran member of Merkel's party, said if countries wanted to make Europe stronger, it was necessary for each individual country to become stronger first - including France and Italy but also Germany.
Schaeuble also signaled he would not object if the European Commission gave its blessing to possible French budget deficits: "It's up to the European Commission to design the budget rules." ■