Dijsselbloem promises closer EMU integration if re-appointed

Reuters News
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Posted: Jun 16, 2015 11:06 AM

By Thomas Escritt

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - The current chair of the council of eurozone finance ministers said on Tuesday that he would push for eurozone-wide social and fiscal reforms designed to promote the smooth functioning of the currency union if he is re-elected to the post.

Dutch Finance Minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem, in a letter requesting that he be reappointed to serve another two-and-a-half years as Eurogroup chair, said issues including labor market flexibility, pension reforms and social security modernization needed to be on the eurozone's agenda.

Dijsselbloem said deeper integration within the eurozone would require "respect" for the position of non-euro member states, adding that he would "emphasize the joint interests which we have".

The Capital Markets Union should be the next political project for the whole European Union, which would have the benefit of improving risk sharing and reducing dependence on bank financing within the 28-member bloc, he said.

Spanish Finance Minister Luis de Guindos is seen as frontrunner in the race to head the Eurogroup, with many believing the job should go to one of the southern countries hardest hit by the eurozone debt crisis.

Dijsselbloem, who has had a central role in the drawn-out negotiations between Greece and its creditors, is believed to have the support of some of the bloc's fiscally disciplined northern countries.

(Reporting By Thomas Escritt; Editing by Angus MacSwan)