HIGHLIGHTS-Comments from EU finance ministers
BRUSSELS Nov 10 (Reuters) - Following are comments from European Union finance ministers as they gathered in Brussels on Tuesday for a meeting.
SWEDEN'S FINANCE MINISTER ANDERS BORG
ON EXIT STRATEGIES
"Obviously there is a need for further discussions and further work on this issue and it's premature now to start to talk about ending these guarantee schemes, capital injection schemes and bad asset schemes. We must be clear that there is a need to keep these systems going for quite some time. But at the same time it is necessary that we start to discuss the principles, the sequencings and the coordination that is necessary to withdraw the support system in an orderly way."
"I would like to underline, and that's a note from the Swedish presidency, that the most important part of our financial system exit is the building of a new financial infrastructure... We will now ahead of the meeting in December have to make further progress in the working groups to take the decision on micro-supervision.
"If we don't reach an agreement in December on the micro-supervision, that would be a very problematic situation for Europe. From our side in the Swedish presidency we will put our upmost work into reaching an agreement in December on micro-supervision."
DUTCH FINANCE MINISTER WOUTER BOS
"We always wanted a strong euro. And now we have one. We should not complain."
EUROPEAN ECONOMIC AND MONETARY AFFAIRS COMMISSIONER JOAQUIN ALMUNIA
"We will discuss this morning how to start a definition for the exit strategy for the financial support. These are open discussions and will not reach a conclusion.
"We need to establish adequate paths, common deadlines, to correct excessive budget deficits, which we have to combine with short-term fiscal stimulus."
COMMENTS FROM EURO ZONE MINISTERS ON MONDAY:
ON NEW GERMAN FINANCE MINISTER WOLFGANG SCHAEUBLE
"The words pronounced by Minister Schaeuble today ... showed that the minister is fully committed to the implementation of the Stability and Growth Pact and understands well how the Stability and Growth Pact should be implemented during these difficult times.
"He has clearly mentioned that Germany will comply with the Syability and Growth Pact and with the constitutional rules regarding fiscal discipline, even taking into account this agreement on the tax cuts that is in the programme of the present coalition. And I think when one listens to Minister Shaeuble one immediately has the impression one is listening to a very credible politician."
ON FAIR TREATMENT OF ALL MEMBERS
"It is the first time since the euro exists that we will be facing at the same time excessive deficit procedures for 13 out of 16 members of the euro area, so this will require a horizontal view, a comprehensive view.
"At the same time differentiation will need to provide a global picture that demonstrates equal treatment or fair treatment for everybody, so we have to avoid, and the Commission will be very keen in avoiding, discriminatory treatments to one country against the others."
ON EXIT STRATEGIES
"We all agreed that provided that the central scenario included in our forecasts will be confirmed, 2011 is the year when the euro area should on aggregate terms start the fiscal exit."
SPANISH ECONOMY MINISTER ELENA SALGADO
ON THE OUTCOME OF THE MEETING
"For the points on our agenda, restoring public finances to health and tackling unemployment will be the priorities for the time to come."
ON BANK SUPPORT MEASURES
"On the time for withdrawing support measures for banks, I would point out that as far as the ECB is concerned they have been talking about a gradual phasing out of the non-standard measures, that means those measures for extraordinary liquidity for one year which were implemented as a result of the crisis. This would be a gradual phasing out, as the president of the ECB himself has advocated."
ON BEARING THE COSTS OF THE CRISIS
"What we are trying to do is to implement initiatives which would try to make sure that some of the costs caused by the crisis would be met by those who generated the crisis."
ON NEW GERMAN FINANCE MINSTER
"I think that in light of what we heard from Minister Schaeuble, obviously he showed a great commitment to the Stability and Growth Pact. I don't there has been any doubt on our part as to his absolute commitment to comply with the provisions of that pact."
BELGIAN FINANCE MINISTER DIDIER REYNDERS
ON WHETHER THERE IS A CONSENSUS TO START FISCAL EXIT IN 2011
"2011 is a minimum -- if you we can start earlier why not? We will do it in Belgium."
SWEDISH FINANCE MINISTER ANDERS BORG
"We need to keep the guarantee system and the support system for the financial sector...in place...for an extended period of time."
"We are seeing recovery in Europe. Europe has landed on its feet and it's beyond reasonable doubt that public finances in Europe are on an unsustainable course, so it must be a top priority to start fiscal exits."
"The argument for Sweden joining (the euro) has strengthened. I strongly believe we should become members but it will take some time to convince the people."
DUTCH FINANCE MINISTER WOUTER BOS
ON EXIT STRATEGY TIMING
"I guess we all think that the best year to actually start (exit strategies) will be 2011 for most countries."
ON TAX CUTS WHILE TRYING TO CONSOLIDATE BUDGETS
"I don't think that's best practice, no."
AUSTRIAN FINANCE MINISTER JOSEF PROELL
"We must set our direction according to the Stability Pact. The aim of getting deficits under three percent and debts below 60 percent (of GDP) has to be kept in view over the short- and medium-term. There will be discussion about the timing. I am in favour of setting a signal for 2013, although I recognise that for some countries which have run very big deficits in fighting the crisis, that is not going to be an easy goal to reach."
BUSINESSEUROPE PRESIDENT JURGEN THUMANN
"I am deeply concerned about recent exchange rate developments. The euro has reached a pain threshold for industry in the euro zone. This is not good news for growth in Europe and is inconsistent with the commitments of G20 countries for an orderly resolution of global imbalances."
FINNISH FINANCE MINISTER JYRKI KATAINEN
ON GLOBAL TRANSACTION TAX
"I am not that interested in more taxes, I know that everybody thinks about how to finance the climate change burden in the future and there we needed a common global solution, but Tobin tax -- I don't believe in that because it is very difficult to find a solution which is suitable for everybody."
ON AN INSURANCE LEVY FOR BANKS
"We should focus on how to better regulate financial markets, we should not pay that much attention to costs of future crises, because we should prevent them. Gordon Brown's is more a domestic, political proposal, not that much for international use."
ON EU BANK STRESS TESTS
"The EU has gone pretty far in preparing for future challenges, but there is still need for stronger European stress tests which means that also in the future we should have a common base on how to measure losses and gains in the banking sector, there is a need for more information, and therefore I believe that in the next half year, European supervisors will propose again new measurement of the banks."
ON G20 AND FX
"We should concentrate on how we could prepare for a more balanced recovery, what the Chinese should do with their currency and what they should do with their economy in order to have a more balanced world economy in the future."
ON THE 2011 DEADLINE FOR STIMULUS WITHDRAWAL
"2011 is the right time, even though nobody knows about future growth, when it will start in different countries.
"I think that according to the current information, 2011 is right, because of the huge deficits we will see in each individual country, it is really time to start preparing."