BERLIN (Reuters) - Euro zone countries have failed to use the low interest rate environment created by the European Central Bank's expansionary policy to reform their economies and consolidate their budgets, German Deputy Finance Minister Michael Meister said on Thursday.

"Politicians should focus on solving fundamental problems - competitiveness of national economies and the consolidation of public budgets," he said at a business conference in Berlin.

"If we achieve this, then the need for low interest rates is eliminated and the central bank is in a position to pursue a different monetary policy," he added.

(Reporting by Joseph Nasr; Editing by Paul Carrel)