Meeting in Brussels, the 16 Finance Ministers of the Eurogroup discussed Monday the impact of the economic crisis in the eurozone. Eurogroup chairman Jean Claude Juncker stressed that he was keen to get banks lending more. He said: “We still think that in spite of some improvements there is not enough credit flowing and we are still keeping a close eye on that aspect of the matter.”
The construction sector has been affected dramatically by the downturn with heavy job losses and financial cutbacks, while the high street throughout Europe is also starting to pay the price as the public cuts back on expenditure. The car industry has also been hit hard, with the French government announcing state aid of almost eight billion euros for France’s auto industry in exchange for pledges to keep jobs and assembly lines. The summit came after intense pressure from France which handed the rotating European Union presidency over to the Czech Republic on January 1. Tensions between the two countries rose after Sarkozy suggested that Peugeot should close a plant in the Czech Republic and bring production home to France.