Spain PM urges greater European integration

MADRID Sun Dec 8, 2013 5:50pm EST

1 of 2. Spain's Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy attends celebrations for the 35th anniversary of the Spanish Constitution in the Spanish Parliament in Madrid December 6, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Javier Barbancho

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MADRID (Reuters) - Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy urged more unity for Europe and said a banking union for the region should be finalised this month, El Pais reported in an interview published on its website late on Sunday.

Spanish politicians are not impervious to the consequences of corruption, Rajoy told El Pais, and he denied any parallel accounting in his party in relation to a slush fund scandal that has dogged the center-right People's Party this year.

The country recently tumbled 10 places to rank 40th in a global index of perceived official corruption following a spate of scandals in the ruling People's Party and the royal family.

Spain was at the heart of the euro zone debt crisis last year, but emerged from recession in the third quarter and is funding itself comfortably on the money markets once more following a European Central Bank pledge to defend the euro at all costs.

Rajoy said the worst was over for Europe and member states must now work towards greater growth and integration.

"What concerns me most is that all European governments, especially that of Germany, ... have a clear view of where we are headed."

The remaining details regarding the supervisory banking union for the monetary union must be sewn up in December, he said.

"It's very important that all the decisions about the design of the banking union are finalised in December," he said. "The priority for Spain is that the matter is closed."

(Reporting by Sonya Dowsett; editing by Jackie Frank)

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