Europe, pressed by Germany, mulls major step towards ‘fiscal union’

National Post | News

PARIS/BERLIN — When Jean-Claude Trichet called last June for the creation of a European finance ministry with power over national budgets, the idea seemed fanciful, a distant dream that would take years or even decades to realise, if it ever came to be.

One year later, with the euro zone’s debt crisis threatening to tear the bloc apart, Germany is pushing its partners for precisely the kind of giant leap forward in fiscal integration that the now-departed European Central Bank president had in mind.

After falling short with her “fiscal compact” on budget discipline, German Chancellor Angela Merkel is pressing for much more ambitious measures, including a central authority to manage euro area finances, and major new powers for the European Commission, European Parliament and European Court of Justice.

She is also seeking a coordinated European approach to reforming labour markets, social security systems and tax policies, German officials say.

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