PARIS (Reuters) - France and Germany must work closely together to find a balance between mid-term structural reform and the need to support growth in Europe in the short term, French Finance Minister Pierre Moscovici said on Saturday.
Reviving the region’s economy is the priority for the next six months, Moscovici said, adding that major exporter Germany could do more to support domestic demand.
The finance minister said in a copy of a speech emailed to Reuters that each country needed to look at what it could do to boost the euro zone: “France, with the progressive improvement of its deficits and its will to reform. Germany, with its surpluses, which has nothing to gain from recession in the euro zone, and which can use its room for maneuver to sustain domestic demand.”
Moscovici made the remarks in a speech to mark 50 years since the signing of the Elysee Treaty by German leader Konrad Adenauer and France’s Charles de Gaulle, sealing post-war reconciliation between the two countries.
The three-year-old euro zone debt crisis, which started in Greece, has exposed structural deficiencies in the currency bloc, forcing its members to consider closer cooperation.
But Berlin and Paris have starkly different visions of what a closer currency union should look like, with German Chancellor Angela Merkel favoring tighter central controls over budgets and French President Francois Hollande seeking more solidarity, in the form of a big euro zone budget to deal with economic shocks.
“I don’t want to see weak growth in the euro zone when we exit the crisis, while the United States or Japan rebound more vigorously,” Moscovici said. “And I believe it is that which must mobilize all the effort, all the energy of the Franco-German relationship.”
Reporting by James Regan; editing by Mark Trevelyan