* German minister says ready to help emerging markets
* Schaeuble says German court decision won't blunt OMT
* EU Treaty change on Berlin's agenda despite pushback
By Noah Barkin and Gernot Heller
BERLIN, Feb 11 Recent turmoil in emerging
markets will hit export-oriented European economies but there
are no signs the bloc that shares the single currency is headed
towards deflation, German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble
Speaking to Reuters as part of a series of interviews with
top policymakers across the euro zone, Schaeuble signalled a
readiness to help emerging market countries that have seen their
currencies sink to multi-year lows in past weeks as part of a
broad market sell-off.
"We will help the emerging markets, within the limits of our
possibilities, to solve their problems just as they stood by us
in past years," Schaeuble said, pointing to a meeting of G20
finance ministers in Australia later this month.
"The difficult situation in some emerging markets affects us
of course. We are all dependent on exports, Germany more than
other countries," he added.
But Schaeuble, who started his second term as finance
minister in December, said he agreed with European Central Bank
President Mario Draghi that falling prices were not a danger for
the euro zone, despite a drop in the bloc's inflation rate to
0.7 percent last month and warnings from the International
Monetary Fund that deflation is a potential risk.
"There is no deflation danger in Europe," Schaeuble said.
"We understand deflation as a reluctance to spend in the
anticipation of falling prices. And there are no signs of this."
In a wide-ranging interview, Schaeuble also played down the
risks of last week's ruling by Germany's Constitutional Court on
Draghi's bond-buying scheme.
The court decided to refer complaints against the so-called
Outright Monetary Transactions (OMT) programme to the European
Court of Justice, but it also voiced concerns that the ECB went
beyond its mandate with the scheme.
Although the OMT plan has never been used, it is widely
credited with restoring confidence in the euro zone after years
of crisis that had threatened to tear the 18-member bloc apart.
Some experts, including the head of Germany's ZEW think tank
Clemens Fuest, have said the court decision severely blunts the
Schaeuble dismissed those concerns, saying the details of
the OMT were secondary to the broad message sent by the ECB and
European governments that they would not let the euro zone break
"I think the return of financial market confidence in the
stability of the euro has been due not only, not even primarily,
to the ECB's (OMT) announcement," Schaeuble said.
"When leaders of government on the one hand, and the central
bank on the other, say they will do what is necessary, then
financial markets need not worry."
Schaeuble also touched on a referendum in Switzerland at the
weekend in which voters approved new limits to immigration from
the European Union, saying fears about the free movement of
people in Europe needed to be taken seriously.
But he played down the risks of a strong performance by
populist, anti-immigration and eurosceptic parties in European
Parliament elections in May, saying this would only push bigger
mainstream parties to work more closely together.
"If we have stronger eurosceptic voices in the next European
Parliament, then it will raise the pressure on everyone else to
commit even more strongly to European integration, to react to
this result and make Europe more efficient," he said.
Regardless of the outcome of the vote and despite strong
resistance in other European capitals, Schaeuble said Germany
would not drop its push for changes to the EU's Lisbon Treaty
that it argues are necessary to ensure closer integration.
"I think we will have a discussion about this at the
beginning of the term of the next European Parliament and
European Commission, and I am optimistic we will get a
solution," Schaeuble said, predicting progress in 2015.
(Reporting by Noah Barkin and Gernot Heller, editing by Mike