AIX-EN-PROVENCE, France (Reuters) - French Finance Minister Pierre Moscovici poured cold water on a media report on Sunday that France and Germany could split between them the presidency of the Eurogroup of euro zone finance ministers.
The mandate of the Eurogroup’s current chairman, Luxembourg Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker, expires at the end of the month but officials signaled last month that his term could be extended.
On Sunday, Germany’s Der Spiegel magazine reported that German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande had agreed a compromise for a successor to Juncker as Eurogroup head involving a rotating chairmanship.
German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble would initially take over as Eurogroup chief to be replaced by Moscovici at the mid-point of his term, according to the report.
“I don’t know where this story is coming from. It’s not under consideration,” Moscovici told journalists on the sidelines of a conference in Aix-en-Provence, southern France.
Later, on BFM television, Moscovici denied being a candidate for the Eurogroup’s presidency and said there was no need for Europe to have a so-called “Mr Euro” to steer its economy policy, as reported by German media.
Hollande, however, said there would be a “Franco-German” outcome to Juncker’s succession.
“We will all find a good solution once Mr. Juncker has finished his mandate - a Franco-German solution,” he told journalists on the sidelines of a meeting with Merkel in Reims, eastern France.
Moscovici said that a Eurogroup meeting on Monday would tackle the issue of who will lead the powerful council in addition to a handful of other high-level appointments at euro zone bodies.
“The French position is that Jean-Claude Juncker stays on in his mandate for some time. We will prepare a more lasting solution,” Moscovici added.
German government spokesman Steffen Seibert and Schaeuble’s spokesman Martin Kotthaus did not confirm the report, saying there was no new development in deliberations over who should take over the Eurogroup chairmanship.
Reporting by Leigh Thomas; Additional reporting by Gernot Heller; Editing by Erica Billingham and James Dalgleish