PARIS Dec 17 French Finance Minister Pierre
Moscovici welcomed the formation of a growth-oriented governing
coalition in Germany on Tuesday and said the previous
administration had placed far too much emphasis on budgetary
austerity in Europe.
Germany's Social Democrats have voted to join a "grand
coalition" with Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives,
clearing the way for a right-left government to take office on
"It's true that the previous administration was far too
focused on austerity," Moscovici told France 2 television. "Now
there is a Social Democratic partner ... I think we'll have a
Germany that is more growth-oriented."
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has agreed with her
coalition partners to push through a series of "growth friendly"
reforms, including the introduction of a minimum wage - a move
welcomed by France's Socialist government.
Merkel, who said she had fought off SPD demands for higher
taxes to finance spending for infrastructure and education, is
due to travel to Paris on Wednesday to meet President Francois
Hollande. She will then go to Brussels for an EU summit at which
leaders must clinch a deal on the bloc's banking union project.
Under pressure from Germany, Hollande has sought to bring
down the budget deficit, largely through tax hikes, and pushed
through a range of structural reforms including a freshly minted
deal to overhaul the job training system.
But left-wing members of Hollande's government have been
openly critical of Merkel, saying an exclusive focus on budget
austerity to shore up public finances in Europe has fuelled the
rise of far-right parties.
Voters in the European Union head to the polls next May for
European parliamentary elections in which Eurosceptic parties
are expected to make strong gains.
"The mandate of the next European parliament needs to be not
one of austerity but of growth," Moscovici added.