ECB member warns France, Greece not to waver on budgets
(BERLIN) - A member of the European Central Bank's board warned France and Greece Tuesday in a newspaper interview not to waver from their fiscal commitments after voters rewarded anti-austerity parties.
Joerg Asmussen of Germany told the daily Handelsblatt that France's Socialist president-elect Francois Hollande should uphold the country's pledge to get its public finances under control.
"I expect France to implement the fiscal pact unchanged," he said, in an interview to be published Wednesday.
"In addition, I expect the new government to respect the promise to reduce the public deficit next year below the three-percent (of GDP) mark."
Asmussen noted that the ECB also backed adding a growth-promotion plank to the EU fiscal pact, which was approved in March by 25 of the 27 EU member states after intense wrangling and imposes tough budgetary rules.
But he said Hollande's calls to renegotiate the accord would fall on deaf ears.
"It must be clear to all that the fiscal pact -- supplemented with a growth passage -- must not be weakened in its substance," he said, echoing comments made by German Chancellor Angela Merkel Monday.
Turning to Greece, Asmussen said Athens could not expect the ECB to renegotiate its bail-out deal after an election Sunday that saw parties opposed to the biting cuts demanded by international creditors make stunning gains.
"It must be clear to Greece that there is no alternative to the agreed restructuring programme if it wants to remain a eurozone member," he said.
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