Pierre Moscovici is a confident man. The former French finance minister is moving to Brussels shortly to become a member of the European Commission, the European Union’s executive arm. France is pushing for him to be given the economic and monetary affairs portfolio, despite German resistance. While the decisions will be taken this weekend, Mr. Moscovici said he believes Germany’s concerns over having a Frenchman at the helm of economic policy in Europe have been addressed. Promising to serve as a commissioner for Europe, not for France, he pledged that reviving growth and jobs in Europe will be his top priority. He sat down for an interview at the French embassy in Berlin.
Handelsblatt: Mr. Moscovici, how confident are you of becoming EU Commissioner for monetary affairs?
I am neither confident nor pessimistic. We have clear institutional rules. It is the task of incoming [Commission] President Jean-Claude Juncker to decide on the division of labor. What I can say is that, I have the necessary experience to do the job if it is offered to me. I have given my political life to Europe. And I stand for a balanced Europe that cares for budget consolidation and for growth and jobs.
Handelsblatt: The German federal government has its concerns about you. Is it right that a French candidate become monetary affairs commissioner, when the country has for years been running a higher deficit than the European Union’s “Stability Pact” allows?
Of course, commissioners have a nationality – I am French. They also belong to a party – I am a Social Democrat. But I will not be an ambassador either of country or party. I am becoming a member of the European Commission and will represent European interests. That means we should respect and uphold common rules. Also: France has never breached the Stability Pact. Nor do we want the rules to be changed.
Handelsblatt: But as finance minister you saw to it that France was given an additional two years to meet bring its budget deficit within the proper limit.