Germany denies mulling eurozone 'elite bonds'

28th November 2011, Comments 0 comments

Germany denied on Monday a report it was considering "elite bonds" to pool the debt only of eurozone countries with a top AAA credit rating.

"There is no plan for 'Triple A bonds' or 'elite bonds' as stated in the article," a finance ministry spokesman said in a statement following a report earlier Monday in the daily Die Welt.

"We are working intensively on a stability union," the spokesman added, referring to Berlin's drive for EU member countries to sign on to tougher fiscal discipline.

"We want to secure this through treaty changes in which we suggest that member states' budgets respect firm debt limits. If they do not do this, the EU Commission should be able to reject (the budgets). This would require a treaty change, which could be achieved quickly."

Berlin remains opposed to "eurobonds" covering the entire eurozone, a proposal formally put forward by the European Commission last week, but Die Welt had reported that a streamlined "elite bonds" proposal was now on the table.

Such government bonds would cover six countries with the highest credit rating -- Germany, France, Finland, the Netherlands, Luxembourg and Austria, according to the report citing sources close to the negotiations.

They would be aimed at erecting a "credible firewall to calm financial markets" and, under strict conditions, could be used to come to the aid of debt-mired major economies such as Italy and Spain, Die Welt said.

The bonds would have an interest rate of between 2.0 and 2.5 percent and the revenues generated could be made available to the eurozone bail-out fund, the report said.

© 2011 AFP

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