BERLIN (Reuters) - Germany is willing to discuss the creation of a euro zone finance minister who would have his own budget and raise extra taxes, the German magazine Der Spiegel reported on Saturday.
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker last month laid out a vision for tighter joint control over the currency zone’s economies, including a common euro zone treasury one day.
German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble is open to the idea to transfer “substantial financial resources” from his tax revenues to a separate budget of the monetary union, sources in the finance ministry told the magazine.
One option could be that the 19 euro zone member countries would transmit parts of their national revenues from income and value-added tax to such a euro zone budget, the report said.
The euro zone finance minister could also get the right to put a surcharge on taxes, which would amount to the creation of a “euro tax”, it added.
“We are ready to discuss these issues seriously”, the magazine quoted a German finance ministry source as saying.
A spokeswoman for Schaeuble neither confirmed nor denied the report, saying the discussion on the creation of such a separate fiscal capacity for the euro zone was just beginning.
“Individual elements under discussion have to be seen in the overall context and they would also require changes to the European treaties,” the spokeswoman said.
“In this regard, the talk of a ‘euro tax’ is completely misleading,” she added.
European Parliament lawmaker Elmar Brok, a leading member of German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative party, told the magazine: “The euro zone has to think about its own tax.”
In a report issued in cooperation with the European Central Bank and other EU bodies, Juncker last month proposed more help for states in distress, combined with tougher discipline for countries that miss fiscal targets.
The so-called “Five Presidents’ Report” recommended “quick fix” steps that could be introduced in the next two years, such as setting up a common bank deposit insurance system and promoting competitiveness, as well as longer term ideas such as a common euro zone treasury.
Reporting by Michael Nienaber; Editing by Tom Heneghan