Juncker rejects EU move over Greek budget
BRUSSELS LUXEMBOURG Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker, chairman of eurozone finance ministers, rejected on Monday a German proposal to put Greece’s budget under the supervision of a special EU commissioner.
“I am strongly against the idea of imposing a commissioner with that mission only to Greece. That’s not acceptable,” Juncker said on arrival at a European Union summit.
The German suggestion to put Greece under stewardship overshadowed a gathering aimed at sealing a fiscal pact to toughen budget discipline across the EU, finalising a rescue fund and finding ways to counter recession.
The idea that Greece might cede budget control to the EU was contained in a German submission to its eurozone partners first revealed late on Friday by the Financial Times and confirmed by European sources.
Under the radical plan, denounced by Greek officials, a commissioner appointed by the 16 other eurozone finance ministers could veto budget decisions made by Athens.
“We need more leadership and monitoring in implementing the course of reform,” German Economy Minister Philipp Roesler told the daily Bild.
“If the Greeks fail to do this themselves, the leadership and monitoring must come in a stronger way from outside, for example via the EU.” Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt, however, gave cautious backing to the Germany.
“(Greece) are not delivering on reforms, which is why we are having this discussion (of the German proposal). I can understand that,” he told reporters.