Sunday, June 2, 2013

Paris, Berlin look to alter euro zone leadership

France and Germany have thrown their weight behind creating a permanent president for economic policy in the euro zone, a role that would mark a fundamental overhaul of how the currency bloc is managed.

Their backing calls into question the performance of Dutch Finance Minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem, who was appointed chairman of the Eurogroup of finance ministers of the 17-nation currency area in January, to serve initially for 2-1/2 years.

Dijsselbloem, who succeeded Luxembourg Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker, has unsettled financial markets since taking office, especially with comments about Cyprus and how bank depositors could finance future bailouts.

Those views, while supported by some at the European Central Bank and the European Commission, have irked other officials in Paris, Berlin and Brussels.