May 11, 2017 / 11:38 AM / 2 months ago

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

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German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble presents draft budget for 2018 and mid-term plans for state spending until 2021 during a news conference in Berlin, Germany, March 15, 2017.Fabrizio Bensch/Files

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

Schaeuble said in an interview publilshed 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 theenewspaper. "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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