Exclusive Exclusive: German Finance Minister Wants E.U. Budget Tied to Reform Goals

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble is calling for an overhaul of the European Union’s budget that would see money tied more directly to whether member states adopt structural reforms, Handelsblatt has learned. The overhaul would be designed to encourage euro zone countries in particular to carry out reforms that the European Union believes could boost their economies. An internal finance ministry paper, seen by Handelsblatt, called for the European Union’s “country-specific recommendations” for structural reforms in the euro zone “to be consistently used as guidelines for authorizing structural fund projects.” Germany’s proposal would mark a major shift in how money is allocated in the European Union. At the moment, there is no link between the E.U.’s structural fund and its country recommendations. The structural fund makes up about 40 percent of the European Union’s total budget. “Positive reform incentives could thereby also be set for the euro zone,” the ministry paper reads. Mr. Schäuble hopes to have his plans adopted by the end of this year. The European Union’s finance ministers are expected to discuss the proposals at an informal meeting at the end of April, Handelsblatt has learned. Read the full story in Thursday’s Handelsblatt Global Edition at 12:00 CET. Picture source: Reuters