Reports: Merkel tips finance minister to head Eurogroup | News | DW | 16.03.2012
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Reports: Merkel tips finance minister to head Eurogroup

Chancellor Angela Merkel has thrown her finance minister's hat into the ring to head up the Eurogroup, according to media reports quoting EU diplomatic sources.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel proposed that her finance minister and fellow Christian Democrat Union party member, Wolfgang Schäuble, should head up the Eurogroup, according to media reports quoting EU diplomatic sources.

The Friday edition of the business daily Financial Times Deutschland (FTD) had reported that sources in Brussels and other European capitals said Merkel was lobbying other government chiefs for Schäuble to take over once Luxembourg Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker steps down in June. Since then, other media have taken up the story, also quoting EU sources.

The German government dismissed the reports as "speculation," adding that there was nothing to say on the matter at the moment.

During the eurozone crisis, Schäuble warned against artificially stimulating weak economies, saying the priority must be to tackle the "real causes" by reducing high deficits.

The FTD said another likely candidate, Finnish prime minister Jyrki Katainen has decided not to seek the vacant post.

The top job at the Eurogroup is part of a package of four high-level posts behind which there is a fierce tug of war. Eurogroup is the term used to describe the collective finance ministers of the 17 eurozone nations.

The decision could be delayed until after the French elections in May, the paper reported. France's president Nicholas Sarkozy was concerned that placing a German in the role would give too much power to the largest European economy.

sjt, ng/msh (AFP, dpa)