Germany refuses to slam French economic policy

Germany refuses to slam French economic policy
Wolfgang Schäuble and his French counterpart Pierre Moscovici. Photo: DPA
Germany will not publicly criticize France over economic policy, German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble insisted on Thursday, amid differences between Berlin and Paris over growth versus austerity in battling the eurozone debt crisis.

“We work really well together,” Schäuble said about Berlin and Paris when asked whether Germany was losing patience with its neighbour, during a panel discussion about Europe.

“We only talk positively about each other. With one another, we speak openly,” he said at the event in Berlin.

Friction has arisen between the neighbours recently as Berlin stresses the need for belt-tightening to make growth sustainable while Paris believes higher public spending can kick-start struggling eurozone economies.

Schäuble has in the past also defended the European Commission’s decision to give France two more years to meet the EU deficit target of three percent of GDP.

“We will not criticise France publicly,” Schäuble told the panel organized by regional WDR TV, adding that he and his French counterpart Pierre Moscovici would cooperate “in mutual trust” as long as they were finance ministers.

However, Schäuble said that he appreciated that the commitment by France to carry out structural reforms in exchange for the two-year extension was “difficult” given French public opinion, including the position of the trade unions.


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