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EU Needs More Integration, Steinmeier, Steinbrueck Write in FT

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Dec. 15 (Bloomberg) -- Greece, Ireland and Portugal should be released from a substantial part of their debts, said Frank-Walter Steinmeier, who was German foreign minister from 2005 to 2009, and Peer Steinbrueck, finance minister in the same period.

Writing in the Financial Times, the two Social Democratic politicians said spending cuts and structural reforms alone will not enable the three countries to escape from their debt trap.

Germany should take the lead in pushing for more, not less European integration, Steinmeier and Steinbrueck said, adding that selling new, European bonds would be a signal to financial markets that economic and monetary union is irreversible.

Eurobonds, however, will succeed only if European institutions establish tighter fiscal and economic control, with common standards on wages and welfare, and on capital and corporate taxation, they said.

German isolation has become a concern, for the first time in decades, Steinmeier and Steinbrueck said. The country must show that it wants a more European Germany, rather than a more German Europe, they concluded.

To contact the reporter on this story: Alan Purkiss in London on apurkiss@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Colin Keatinge in London at ckeatinge@bloomberg.net.

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