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Germany 'must invest more', says France's economy minister

Mr Macron has launched a series of reforms designed to "unlock" the French economy Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Mr Macron has launched a series of reforms designed to "unlock" the French economy

Germany has an "urgent responsibility" to invest more in the eurozone, France's economy minister has said.

Emmanuel Macron told the Les Echos newspaper that Europe's largest economy needed to take a "proactive" role in reviving growth in the area, by doing more to boost consumer demand.

He added that both countries "must go further together" to ensure a recovery.

Mr Macron's comments come days before a scheduled meeting between the two nations' leaders.

President Francois Hollande will meet German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Strasbourg on Sunday.

Europe's economy has been floundering in recent months, with persistently low rates of inflation leading consumers and business to hold off making purchases or making investments, in the expectation that prices will continue to fall.

A survey published on Tuesday indicated the eurozone economy saw anaemic growth in December and suffered its worst quarter for more than a year.

'Sacrificed' generation

Mr Macron, who this week became the first French economy minister to attend the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, said it was time the European Central Bank adopted "offensive measures" to prevent deflation in the eurozone.

The ECB has been urged to follow in the footsteps of the US and UK by introducing aggressive fiscal stimulus policies, using a method known as quantitative easing.

Mr Macron warned that France's younger generation, many of whom have experienced widespread unemployment, "run the risk of being permanently sacrificed" if measures are not taken to boost Europe's economy.

The 37-year-old said that France was doing its part, by carrying out economic reforms and cutting public spending.

"We took our responsibilities. Economic elites must now take theirs".

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