BERLIN Jan 21 The man likely to head the
Eurogroup of euro zone finance ministers told his colleagues on
Monday he wanted to move on from simply fighting crises and
focus on longer-term policies to cement fledgling confidence.
Jeroen Dijsselbloem, the Dutch finance minister expected to
be appointed Eurogroup chairman later in the day, also said he
saw an enhanced role for his new job.
In a letter to his euro zone colleagues outlining what he
would focus on if chosen, Dijsselbloem said he would push to be
invited to meetings of finance ministers and central bankers
from the world's 20 biggest economies, the G20.
The Dutch minister, who only took his national post three
months ago, said the euro zone should continue with reforms and
fiscal consolidation that have pleased investors.
"We now need to keep the momentum going, to ensure we retain
the confidence we managed to regain in a lasting manner," he
said. "Our focus needs to shift from crisis management to
delivering and implementing sound medium-term policies."
Dijsselbloem said policies in the euro zone, which is in
recession, had to be focused on restoring sustainable growth,
for which sound fiscal policy was indispensable, but such
policies should be individually tailored.
"The speed of fiscal adjustment should continue to be based
on country-specific fiscal and macro-financial risks," he said
in the letter, seen by Reuters.
He said countries should focus on the structural budget
balance, which excludes increased spending and lower revenues
typical for an economic downturn.
The Netherlands is one of only four euro zone countries to
have retained the highest credit rating throughout the crisis
and has been one of the hardliners, along with Germany and
Finland on the need for tough austerity in countries benefiting
from euro zone support - Greece, Ireland, Portugal and Spain.
Dijsselbloem is set to replace Luxembourg's Prime Minister
Jean-Claude Juncker as chairman of the Eurogroup, the monthly
meeting of finance ministers which is a powerful policymaking
body key to dealing with the debt crisis.