(Reuters) - The prospect of euro zone nations issuing common bonds may not have immediate political traction, but the monetary union should not relinquish the idea entirely, French Finance Minister Pierre Moscovici said on Thursday.
Moscovici spoke to reporters at the French ambassador’s residence in Washington following meetings with U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, whom he described as somewhat “less nervous” about the European situation.
Asked about the possibility of joint debt issuance, which many see as a likely element in an eventual resolution of Europe’s prolonged financial crisis, the minister noted some countries in Europe are not very keen on the idea. Germany has consistently voiced opposition to collective borrowing by the euro zone as a whole.
“I don’t think we should give up on it forever,” Moscovici said.
He said he offered U.S. leaders an upbeat message about President Francois Hollande’s intention to beef up the country’s weak economic growth even as his administration tries to bring down the country’s budget deficit.
The finance minister said very low, sometimes negative, yields on French government securities were a sign of market confidence in Europe’s second-largest economy.
Moscovici said he hopes French economic growth can come closer to attaining its full potential next year, which he pegged at around 2 percent.
The International Monetary Fund sees France’s gross domestic product expanding just 0.3 percent this year and 0.8 percent next year.
Reporting by Pedro Nicolaci da Costa; Editing by Steve Orlofsky