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ECB’s Stark Says Euro-Area Budget-Rules Plan Must Be Stricter

Jan. 21 (Bloomberg) -- European Central Bank Executive Board member Juergen Stark stepped up his opposition to a European government deal that would leave the decision to sanction euro-area budget violations in political hands.

“What has been put on the table cannot be the last word, because this agreement was achieved at the end of October,” Stark said in an interview with Dutch newspaper Het Financieele Dagblad, the text of which was released by the Frankfurt-based European Central Bank today.

“Since then, we have experienced a renewed intensification of the crisis,” Stark said. “I am certain that policy makers are aware that they have to go further and that they cannot stop at what they agreed upon late October.”

ECB policy makers are increasing the pressure on governments to take more responsibility for Europe’s sovereign-debt crisis, which so far has forced the bailout of Greece and Ireland. European Union governments plan to sign off on their version of revamped crisis-fighting-rules by the end of March.

Stark said the “the quasi-automaticity in the procedures and in applying sanctions” for budget offenders will have to be improved.

“That means not accepting any more political discretion when it comes to sanctions,” he said. “There is a need for a more revolutionary approach.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Gabi Thesing in London at gthesing@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Craig Stirling at cstirling1@bloomberg.net

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