June 21, 2018 / 7:23 AM / a month ago

Bavarian premier rejects 'paying out more money' for euro zone

BERLIN (Reuters) - Bavarian premier Markus Soeder took aim on Thursday at a euro zone reform blueprint that Chancellor Angela Merkel agreed with France this week, rejecting the idea of German taxpayers’ money being used to help other members of the single currency project.

FILE PHOTO: Bavaria's Prime Minister Markus Soeder addresses a news conference after a joint Austrian and Bavarian cabinet meeting in Linz, Austria, June 20, 2018. REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger/File Photo

Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron agreed on Tuesday on the plan to create a budget for the euro zone to strengthen economic convergence within the currency bloc, which was almost torn apart by a debt crisis that took hold in 2009.

Soeder, a senior figure in Merkel’s conservative Bavarian allies, said the discussion of European reforms had created the impression that the issues of euro zone finance and asylum could be linked, adding: “this could leave a bad taste.”

“One thing is clear: We need stability in Europe not by always paying out more money but rather through reforms in the respective countries,” added Soeder, whose Christian Social Union (CSU) is sister party to Merkel’s Christian Democrats.

“We don’t want a community of debt,” he added. “It can’t be that European finance instruments are developed for example to further save Italian banks. That should be dealt with in Italy. These are things that must be talked about.”

Merkel said on Tuesday she was optimistic her government and parliament would back the proposed euro zone reforms.

But on Wednesday, members of Merkel’s conservative bloc opposed to larger financial contributions to the euro zone criticized her agreement with Macron to create the common budget for the currency bloc. They said they were not briefed on the plan ahead of time and threatened not to back it.

Writing by Paul Carrel

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