Feb.10 - Comments from French Finance Minister Pierre Moscovici on the future of the euro zone, including trends, problems and opportunities after the European Elections in May. NB EDITORS PLEASE NOTE: ROUGH CUT - NO REPORTER NARRATION.
NB EDITORS PLEASE NOTE: ROUGH CUT - NO REPORTER NARRATION. Euro zone countries should launch ambitious new projects like common unemployment insurance to counter a surge in support for Eurosceptic parties, French Finance Minister Pierre Moscovici said in an interview. Opinion polls suggest anti-EU parties are likely to make big gains in European Parliament elections in May, channelling voter frustrations with mainstream politicians' handling of a debt crisis that caused a prolonged recession and high jobless levels in many euro zone countries. Moscovici calls for further integration of the euro zone in order to strengthen citizens' attachment to the euro currency. He was speaking in an interview conducted on Jan. 30 as part of a Reuters Euro Zone Summit involving policymakers, politicians and market players. A social democrat who previously served as European affairs minister and in the European Parliament, Moscovici suggested the 18-nation currency area should set up a joint budget to tackle unemployment. Moscovici said improving the governance of the euro zone was another major project the bloc's leaders needed to tackle. He called for a full-time head of the Eurogroup of finance ministers, an idea backed by Germany and Italy, saying it could be merged with the existing post of EU economic and monetary affairs commissioner. Currently, Dutch Finance Minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem chairs the Eurogroup in a part-time capacity. Moscovici has been mooted in the past as a possible candidate for either post, but he dismissed the idea that he was interested in any such role.