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Schäuble: don't panic on French economy

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Schäuble: don't panic on French economy
Photo: DPA
14:54 CET+01:00
Germany's finance minister said on Tuesday that the French economic situation was stable, after international ratings agency Moody's cut the government bond rating by one notch from the highest level.

"We got the news tonight that our most important partner received a slight warning assessment. But the rating for France is still very stable," Wolfgang Schäuble told the Bundestag lower house of parliament.

Schäuble warned against "dramatising" the situation but stressed: "Everyone in Europe has an interest in living up to their responsibilities and duties."

Moody's was the second of the three major ratings agency to cut France's top triple-A rating on Monday, and warned that a further downgrade could be on the cards.

Standard and Poor's did so in January but Fitch has maintained its assessment of French debt so far.

A French government spokeswoman has also sought to play down the significance of Moody's action, noting that the markets do not seem to have reacted in a negative way.

The downgrade put France behind eurozone partners such as Finland, Germany, Luxembourg and the Netherlands, which have retained top AAA ratings though they all have a negative outlook from at least one of the three agencies.

Schäuble's Berlin flat was broken into and a mobile phone stolen earlier this month, it was confirmed on Tuesday.

The 70-year-old minister was not at home at the time, but the Berliner Morgenpost newspaper said a phone was stolen. It also said that Schäuble, who has been wheelchair-bound since an assassination attempt in 1990, had declined a round-the-clock security service at his home in the southwest of the capital.

AFP/hc

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