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Nail euro zone problems first, fix institutions later - ministers

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Nail euro zone problems first, fix institutions later - ministers

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TALLINN (Reuters) – The euro zone must first identify the problems it is facing and only then discuss what changes to its institutions are necessary to fix them, euro zone finance ministers said on Friday as they gathered for informal talks on the future of the currency area. The discussions in the Estonian capital of Tallinn follow differing proposals from France, Germany and the European Commission to create a European or a euro zone finance minister, set up a dedicated euro zone budget and maybe even a euro zone parliament alongside the existing EU parliament. “I think we should start from the other end,” the chairman of euro zone finance ministers Jeroen Dijsselbloem said on entering the talks. “Instead of having a debate mainly about the institutional side, (we should have) a debate about what is lacking in the economic and monetary union, in terms of resilience, competitiveness, solidarity,” he said. “So I think we should start from what the problem is and end with an institutional debate,” Dijsselbloem said. Austrian Finance Minister Hans Joerg Schelling took a similar line. “We are happy with the current arrangement and think we should stick with it,” he told reporters. “I do not see the sense in having a debate until it is clear what the strategy of the euro zone is… When the discussion about the strategy is done then we can build the structure behind it,” he said.

(Reporting By Jan Strupczewski and Philip Blenkinsop)
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