UPDATE 1-Juncker says euro zone bond idea has virtues

* Euro zone bond idea has virtues, will remain on agenda

* Talk of euro existence under threat is “blabber” – Juncker

(Updates with quotes)

BERLIN, Dec 21 (BestGrowthStock) – The proposal to introduce common
euro zone bonds should be analytically assessed because it has
its virtues, Eurogroup chairman Jean-Claude Juncker said in a
German TV interview to be aired later on Tuesday.

Juncker, who is prime minister of Luxembourg and chairman of
the Eurogroup of euro zone finance ministers, added that talk of
the euro’s existence being under threat is “unscientific
blabber”.

“I would have preferred that these proposals would have been
assessed more analytically,” Juncker told the German network
Phoenix’s programme “Unter den Linden”.

He added that the idea “has its virtues and that hasn’t
become clear to everyone.”

Chancellor Angela Merkel has opposed the idea of issuing
so-called E-bonds, saying it would remove the incentive for
countries to balance their budgets and raise Germany’s own
borrowing costs.

Juncker countered that view in the TV interview.

“It surprises me quite a bit that I’m being treated in the
German press and in some parliamentary circles as someone who is
leaving the pro-stability camp,” Juncker said.

“If there is a country that has most intensively been
pushing for stability policies then that is Luxembourg,” he
said. Juncker added that his ideas on E-bonds would remain on
the agenda.

Juncker also said the euro was not in danger.

“The euro is not in a crisis. The euro is also not
endangered. And I consider the talk out there about the euro’s
existence being endangered to be unscientific blabber,” he said.

Juncker said the issue is only that there is a debt crisis
in a few euro zone countries. The measures taken at the EU
summit last week went in the right direction to resolve the debt
crisis, he said.

Juncker said automatic sanctions are needed for budget
offenders.

“It’s incredibly important that the preventive part of the
Stability Pact is strengthened so that the Euro Group can
intervene when the budget situation of a member starts heading
in the wrong direction,” he said. “That’s why we need sanctions
that take effect automatically.”

He added that he would like to see all euro zone governments
taking that view more firmly — “also Germany and France.”
(Reporting by Erik Kirschbaum, Brian Rohan and Annika
Breidthardt; Editing by Hugh Lawson)

UPDATE 1-Juncker says euro zone bond idea has virtues