Merkel backs idea of 'eurozone stability' commissioner

7th October 2011, Comments 0 comments

German Chancellor Angela Merkel Friday threw her weight behind a Dutch proposal to appoint a separate European commissioner purely to ensure that eurozone nations abide by the bloc's budget rules.

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte suggested last month that a new post should be established within the European Commission to "take steps against countries who do not comply with the agreements."

And speaking at a joint press conference with Rutte, Merkel said this was "an interesting idea that Germany absolutely supports."

"The ability to intervene when countries repeatedly break the pact has not yet been fully fleshed out and so the Dutch proposal is a good one," said Merkel, referring to the EU Stability and Growth Pact that limits deficits.

To enforce the rules, Rutte had proposed possible sanctions in the form of a reduction in European funding and a loss of voting rights.

In response to the debt crisis, European countries are tightening up the bloc's rules to start fining states that exceed the budget deficit limit of three percent of output.

"We discussed several ways of boosting the power of the Stability and Growth Pact and ways of improving it," Merkel said.

© 2011 AFP

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