ECB's Draghi Backs Schaeuble's "Currency Commissioner"
European Central Bank Chief Mario Draghi backed a proposal by German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble to radically expand the powers of the European Union's monetary affairs commissioner giving Brussels greater control over member states budgets, Reuters reported. In an interview with German magazine Der Spiegel published four days after defending his bond-purchase program in the country's lower house of parliament, Draghi also said he did not expect his Outright Monetary Transactions (OMT) plan to cost the taxpayer money. Schaeuble said earlier this month that the EU needed a commissioner who wielded power over member states' budgets together with reform of the European Parliament's decision-making process, changes he said could help ease the debt crisis. The commissioner, an expansion of the current monetary and economic affairs commissioner, should have the authority to veto budgets if they broke deficit rules, he argued, urging far-reaching reform and greater European integration. Draghi's public support for the proposals is a boost for Schaeuble's plan but such reform would require changes to EU treaties, something that would need Britain - which has been skeptical of greater European integration - to acquiesce to unless a separate euro zone treaty is drawn up. "I explicitly support this proposal," Draghi told Der Spiegel magazine published on Sunday. "I am certain: if we want to re-establish trust in the euro zone, countries must pass a part of their sovereignty to the European level," Draghi said. Schaeuble wants the role of the economic and monetary affairs commissioner, dubbed the "currency commissioner" in Germany, to be modeled along the lines of the EU's competition commissioner, the only commissioner who can make legally-binding decisions. His plan has received a mixed welcome. Read more.