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Lintilä tones down talk about euro zone budget deal

14 Jun 2019, 22:11 ( 1 Month ago)

DF-Xinhua Report
Minister for Finance Mika Lintilä. File Photo Finnish government by Laura Kotila.

Minister for Finance Mika Lintilä on Friday took distance from the statement by French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire about the result of the overnight meeting of euro group finance ministers in Luxembourg.

Le Maire said, after 12 hours of talks in Luxembourg, early Friday that "a genuine euro zone budget" had been approved. "For the first time, we will start thinking about the future as a coherent bloc and coordinating our economic policies", Le Maire was quoted by AFP as saying.

Lintilä told national broadcaster, Yle that the word "approval" is a fairly brave interpretation.

"It was approved that there will be a budget that is to be used for investments and partial financing, but there was no agreement on how it will be financed and allocated", Lintila  said. "It will be challenging in the future to bring divergent views into one format", Lintilä said.

Lintilä said he does not believe that a closer economic and monetary union as envisioned for example by France and Spain could be created. But the meeting agreed that inside the EU budget a fiscal tool for the euro zone countries will be planned for the next seven years.

Meanwhile, the ministers shelved the idea of a "euro budget" that some major euro zone countries such as France, Spain and Germany would like to see formed on top of the current budget.

"There will be more pressure for the Finnish presidency", Lintilä noted. Finland begins its half-a-year tenure holding presidency of the Council of the European Union in July. "They already throw balls to our side", Lintilä described.

Finland will be chairing the ecofin meetings of all EU countries during the presidency. The EU's seven-year economic plan is to be completed during the Finnish presidency. The euro group is chaired by the Portuguese Finance Minister Mario Centeno.