Bloomberg News

Sarkozy Open to Idea of Special EU Commissioner, Rutte Says

October 17, 2011

(Updates with comment from French official in fourth paragraph.)

Oct. 17 (Bloomberg) -- French President Nicolas Sarkozy is open to the proposal of a special European Commissioner to ensure that euro-area countries obey rules on spending and budget deficits, said Netherlands Prime Minister Mark Rutte, who has been pushing the idea.

“Sarkozy looks at it positively, but the powers of the commissaire would have to be defined,” Rutte told reporters after meeting with the French leader in Paris today. “Our aides are working on it. Triple-A countries like the Netherlands, France, and Germany are paying for Greece, Portugal, and Ireland. Why? Because they didn’t stick to their obligations.”

The idea of the special commissioner is one of the subjects that will be discussed at a meeting of European Union heads of government Oct. 23, Rutte said, along with aid to Greece, ways to improve the workings of the euro region’s rescue fund and bank recapitalizations.

A French official, who can’t be named because he isn’t authorized to speak to the press, said Rutte’s idea of a special commissioner deserves to be discussed. He said the task could be given to an existing member of the commission.

On banks, Rutte said he and Sarkozy agreed that lenders needing new capital should first seek it from private investors, then from their own governments, and only finally from the European Financial Stability Facility.

--Editors: Fergal O’Brien, Andrew Langley

To contact the reporter on this story: Gregory Viscusi in Paris at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: James Hertling at

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