In a joint news conference, Alexis Tsipras and his Italian counterpart Paolo Gentiloni expressed their respective reservations about EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker’s call for a Euro-wide finance minister.
Tsipras said that there was no need for any finance minister, if the job was simply to watch over compliance with eurozone convergence criteria.
“A finance minister who would just be a policeman punishing unruly members, would bring nothing new to the table,” he said.
The Italian prime minister said his country had been in favour of such a project for years. But “a finance minister must create opportunities”, he added in translated remarks at the news conference, “it is not enough to create a job”.
Gentiloni called for “concrete steps” towards strengthening economic and banking cooperation in Europe, saying “big opportunities” were coming the EU’s way in those areas.
In his annual state-of-the-union speech on Wednesday, Juncker proposed that the EU create its own Europe-wide finance minister, a big step towards deeper integration of the Eurozone.
The proposal matches a similar demand by French President Emmanuel Macron, who says he believes that the Eurozone needs stronger institutions in order to avoid shocks such as the debt crisis or Brexit.