U.S. Markets

France, Germany want joint eurozone reform position by June: Le Maire

PARIS (Reuters) - France and Germany want to reach a joint position on euro zone reform, including tax convergence, capital markets and the banking union, between March and June this year, French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said on Thursday.

FILE PHOTO: French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire arrives for a news conference at the Bercy Finance Ministry in Paris, France, January 12, 2018. REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes

Speaking after talks with his German counterpart in Paris, Le Maire said that a joint French-German position would spur other euro zone members to come on board.

“We have ... an immediate priority which is the completion of the banking union, the completion of the capital markets union and tax convergence with Germany,” Le Maire said at a news conference with his German counterpart Peter Altmaier.

“On these three issues, our goal is to reach a final joint position between March and June,” he added.

So far Germany has had concerns about how risks would be shared among euro zone countries if further progress is made on banking union.

While the euro zone has created a common banking supervisor at the ECB, the bloc has struggled to agree on a mechanism to wind down troubled banks and agree a joint deposit insurance system.

“To complete this element, we have to reduce risks with a road map to avoid future crises in the banking sector,” Altmaier said.

Le Maire said that France prepared to address Germany’s concerns and in particular the way that non-performing loans are handled, which is particularly sensitive for Italy due to a high number of dud loans on some Italian banks’ balance sheets.

“This is a concrete example of France’s will to overcome certain technical problems that have lasted for months or years and reach a consensus and agreement,” Le Maire said.

The two ministers are to discuss euro zone integration with their Italian and Spanish counterparts over dinner on Monday in Brussels, Le Maire said.

Reporting by Leigh Thomas; Writing by Michel Rose; Editing by Richard Lough and Geert De Clercq