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U.S. Treasury chief to urge Europeans to boost growth

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Published : 2014-01-05 19:33
Updated : 2014-01-05 19:33

U.S. Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew. (Bloomberg)
WASHINGTON (AFP) ― U.S. Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew will call on Europeans to boost demand to strengthen economic growth during official visits to France, Germany and Portugal next week, an official said Friday.

With the United States still concerned over the weak rebound in Europe, the senior Treasury official said Lew “will focus on the importance of pursuing policies to support the recovery and demand by stretching out the fiscal consolidation path in countries where feasible.”

In addition, Lew will encouraging those “with fiscal space” ― economic powers like Germany ― “to do more to support demand,” the official said on condition of anonymity.

“Despite the progress we have seen European leaders make, domestic demand in the euro area remains below its 2009 low in real terms,” the official said.

“Disinflation remains an acute concern.”

In Germany, Lew will press the idea of more support for crisis countries like Greece, Portugal and Spain, urging them to pursue reforms while supporting their return to growth with stronger demand inside Germany.

“The weak growth of domestic demand in Germany, we think, has impeded stronger, more balanced adjustment in the euro area, and global growth more generally,” the official said.

In France, meanwhile, Lew will seek out more information on the government’s economic strategy and the path of euro area institutional reforms.

Lew will arrive in Paris on Tuesday for meetings with French President Francois Hollande and Finance Minister Pierre Moscovici.

He will hold talks in Berlin on Wednesday with German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble.

Later that day, Lew will travel to Lisbon for meetings with Portuguese Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho, Deputy Prime Minister Paulo Portas and Finance Minister Maria Luis Albuquerque.

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