Home / World / UPDATE 1-The German finance minister supports Merkel’s euro zone financing proposals

UPDATE 1-The German finance minister supports Merkel’s euro zone financing proposals



(Updates with details, appointments, move date to The Hague.)

By Toby Sterling

THE HAGUE, June 4 (Reuters) – German Finance Minister Olaf Scholz said Monday that he supported the modest plans presented by Chancellor Angela Merkel for a European investment fund that could invest in financially weaker member states of the euro zone.

Merkel outlined its financing plan that could reach tens of billions of euros in a German newspaper on Sunday, responding to larger plans proposed by the president of France, Emmanuel Macron.

Merkel's plan seemed to coincide with its conservative base, which is opposed to German taxpayers being responsible for the debt incurred by other states in the euro zone.

"Yes, I agree with the suggestions made by Chancellor Merkel," said Scholz of the Left Social Democratic Party, the junior partner in Merkel's coalition.

"This is a government, and we have discussed (these) questions for a long time."

When asked if Germany could be willing to go further towards Macron's plan for a 200 billion euro fund, he said "this is the time to make suggestions".

Scholz spoke after a meeting with his Dutch counterpart Wopke Hoekstra in the run up to this month's European Union summit in which Merkel and Macron promised to present a joint plan for the restructuring of Europe.

Hoekstra said that the Netherlands, which backed the German line in favor of austerity during the Greek debt crisis, was not convinced of Merkel's plan for an investment fund.

"We are not quite sure how that would really improve the stability of the euro zone," Hoekstra said.

The Netherlands, one of the largest per capita contributors to the European Union budget, opposes any increase in European spending. (Reporting by Toby Sterling and Bart Meijer, Edited by Kevin Liffey and Hugh Lawson)

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