Schaeuble says EU must focus on competitiveness not euro strength

PARIS, July 18 Fri Jul 18, 2014 7:09am EDT

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PARIS, July 18 (Reuters) - Europe must focus on improving the competitiveness of its economy rather than on the euro's exchange rate, German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said on Friday.

Schaeuble added that monetary policy could give governments time to put reforms in place but could not achieve everything.

While a strong euro had its advantages, he told a conference in Paris: "We have to concentrate on whether the European economy is competitive and then we will have an appropriate exchange rate."

French policymakers and businesses have repeatedly complained about the strength of the euro and asked for the EU and the European Central Bank to do more to weaken it, while Germany has always insisted on the independence of the ECB. (Reporting by Leigh Thomas; Writing by Ingrid Melander; Editing by James Regan)

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