Schaeuble Says Germany Won’t Force Nations to Join Fiscal Union

Germany won’t force European Union countries to join the stronger budget oversight it is proposing to stem the sovereign-debt crisis in the euro area, Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said.

“We have repeatedly taken the step in Europe that we say some of us press ahead,” Schaeuble said in a speech in Budapest today. “Of course, with everything we do now, we have to make it clear that the gap between the 17 and the 10 doesn’t get bigger.”

Schaeuble’s message that the 10 EU members that don’t use the euro won’t be excluded came at the start of week of crisis meetings culminating with a Dec. 8-9 summit of all 27 leaders, where Germany aims to set the region on the path to a fiscal union. German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy were meeting in Paris today to prepare the way.

“We want to propose very clearly that everything we do in terms of treaty changes, we do with all of the 27,” Schaeuble said. “Non-euro members are invited to take part.” Euro countries “are not an instrument to create a two-class Europe in the long run.”

The euro area needs to create a fiscal union and should have veto powers over national budgets, he said. The EU has to regain the confidence of the financial markets and stabilizing the euro is a “major challenge.”

To contact the reporters on this story: Zoltan Simon in Budapest at zsimon@bloomberg.net; Tony Czuczka in Berlin at aczuczka@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: James Hertling at jhertling@bloomberg.net

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