France's finance minister has warned of a social crisis and a surge in popularity for extremist political groups unless Europe ends its focus on austerity and fiscal cuts.
Speaking in Brussels this morning, Pierre Moscovici said continuing on the current course would ultimately "nourish a social crisis that leads to populism". His solution – "more Europe" – with closer ties between its members to help each other back to growth.
He argued that the "existential" eurozone crisis is over (ie, the risk of the euro breaking up), but a crisis remains with the single currency region.
Moscovici conceded that countries couldn't simply ignore their debt levels, saying that national debts were "a challenge for any country" regardless of their situation. But he argued that measures such as eurobonds, and a new fund to tackle Europe's jobless crisis, would be a much better approach.
France isn't expected to hit the EU's target of a deficit no bigger than 3% of GDP this year. But with French unemployment over 10%, the view in Paris is that growth is more important then debt levels. (guardian.co.uk)