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France, Germany reportedly agree to share euro chairmanship

July 7, 2012 | 11:02 am

Euro (2)

BERLIN -- In the latest of a series of face-saving compromises in troubled Europe, the German and French heads of state have reportedly agreed to share the chairmanship of the Eurozone finance ministers group.

The German newsweekly Der Spiegel reported that German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande had ended  weeks of haggling by allowing German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble to take initial control of the group, which consists of the finance chiefs of the 17 countries that use the euro currency.

He will be succeeded at a later date by French Finance Minister Pierre Moscovici, Der Spiegel reported. It said the switch would occur "halfway" through the two-year term.

The current chair, Luxembourg Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker, is set to step down this month, after serving in the role since its inception in 2005. The group has political control over the common currency.

With the debt crisis in the Eurozone deepening and more integrated governance likely, the chairmanship position is expected to grow in importance and stature in the coming years.

Merkel had openly campaigned for Schaeuble to lead the group, and he has long been considered a front-runner for the job. After winning election in May, however, Hollande put his own finance minister forward as a candidate. The reported compromise allows both leaders to claim partial victory.

Der Spiegel did not cite its source for the development in its short Web preview of the news story, which will appear in its print magazine Sunday.

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-- Aaron Wiener 

Photo: German Chancellor Angela Merkel talks with German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble during a session of the German  parliament in Berlin on June 29. Credit: Sebastian Kahnert/EPA.

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