Nov. 30 - Implementing a banking union with powers to supervise all banks in the euro zone should be the currency bloc's top priority followed by closer budgetary coordination, International Monetary Fund head Christine Lagarde said on Friday. Hayley Platt reports.
Speaking at a meeting of top finance officials in Paris, the head of the International Monetary Fund Christine Lagarde called for closer budgetary co-ordination. (SOUNDBITE) (French) HEAD OF INTERNATIONAL MONETARY FUND CHRISTINE LAGARDE SAYING: "The banking union seems to us to be the first priority, more and better budgetary integration seems to us the second priority and then, in the background, the fight against macroeconomic imbalances in the euro zone via distinct economic policies on some asymmetrical aspects." Lagarde also said the pace of fiscal consolidation should remain reasonable, so as not to deter growth. It was a question that was also addressed by European Central Bank president Mario Draghi. (SOUNDBITE) (English) EUROPEAN CENTRAL BANK PRESIDENT MARIO DRAGHI SAYING: "The consensus that now exists in France that competitiveness is a key policy concern. Indeed it is a key concern, in every country of the euro area and it is of fundamental importance to the euro area as a whole. Europe's future prosperity requires member countries to be competitive individually in order to be competitive jointly and thrive in an open global economy." He also cautioned however that the euro zone crisis is far from offer, saying members must tighten budgets and forge a banking union, leaving behind what he called the 'fairy world' that created problems in the first place.