PARIS (Reuters) - A European Commission plan to secure 300 billion euros (237 billion pounds) of largely new private investment goes in the right direction but more stimulus is needed, French officials said after its unveiling on Wednesday.
France’s centre-left government has long lobbied for the region to embark on a concerted effort to boost growth, a move resisted notably by Germany’s ruling conservatives, who argue that budgetary rigour and economic reform are the priorities.
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker unveiled a plan he hopes will boost investment without adding to public debt by leveraging large sums of private sector cash with a 21-billion-euro fund to be managed by the European Investment Bank.
“The plan is very positive and goes in the right direction,” Economy Minister Emmanuel Macron told Reuters on the sidelines of an event in Paris.
“There are plenty of components to this plan we can improve on ... I think we need more subsidies and more own funds,” he said, adding the proposals would be debated at the EU’s regular December summit.
His comments echoed those of Finance Minister Michel Sapin, who earlier told Reuters the plan was just a “first step.”
“Now we have to work so that new investments materialise,” he said, repeating French views that a looser monetary policy, a slower pace of deficit-reduction and pro-growth reforms were also needed to boost activity in the euro zone economy.
Reporting by Jean-Baptiste Vey; writing by Mark John; Editing by Leigh Thomas