French PM Valls says euro too strong

PARIS Sat May 3, 2014 3:00pm EDT

French Prime Minister Manuel Valls delivers a speech to present his 50 billion euro ($69 billion) savings plan ahead of a vote at the national assembly in Paris April 29, 2014. REUTERS/Charles Platiau

French Prime Minister Manuel Valls delivers a speech to present his 50 billion euro ($69 billion) savings plan ahead of a vote at the national assembly in Paris April 29, 2014.

Credit: Reuters/Charles Platiau

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PARIS (Reuters) - French Prime Minister Manuel Valls said on Saturday the euro was too strong and that President Francois Hollande would take initiatives to boost growth and employment after the May 22-25 European elections.

"We need a more appropriate monetary policy, because the level of the euro is too high. We need a major change that makes our monetary policy a tool for growth and job creation, a tool that serves the people," Valls said at a meeting of young European socialists close Paris.

"With that purpose in mind, the president of the republic will take initiatives after the European elections," Valls added, reiterating comments he made this week.

Valls told French parliament on Tuesday his government wants talks to address what it considers the excessive strength of the euro once a new European Parliament is in place later this year and called for the EU to boost growth.

Last month, outspoken Economy Minister Arnaud Montebourg said France wants euro zone countries to meet soon in order to discuss the euro's strength and monetary policy and urged the European Central Bank to adopt unconventional policies to weaken the euro.

He also called for a new monetary policy based on the model of the American Fed and said ECB President Mario Draghi should force the euro's exchange rate lower.

The euro is up more than 5 percent against the dollar over the past year, hurting exports by making them less competitive on international markets and weighing on profits of European companies.

In the past weeks, several blue-chip European companies have complained about the euro's strength as they released first-quarter earnings data.

(Reporting by Emmanuel Jarry and Geert De Clercq; Editing by Stephen Powell)

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