Eurozone finance ministers are worried that economic recovery is being threatened by the shared currency’s strength against the dollar. At a meeting with European Central Bank officials in Luxembourg, the ministers also talked about ending costly stimulus programmes that have loaded countries with debt.
The ECB’s President, Jean-Claude Trichet, said it was important to start the “exit stategy” and structural deficits had to be reduced by more than 1% in many cases. “Unfortunately that regards Germany and France,” he said. “They have to be treated in the same fashion, with the same rules, and the Stability and Growth Pact is our master.” Europe’s economy is recovering slowly as consumers start spending again after a long freeze. But exports from eurozone countries fell by nearly a quarter in a year. It is harder to sell goods in the US when the dollar has lost a fifth of its value against the euro since the start of the year. Some suspect the Americans of deliberately keeping the dollar weak to boost US exports and kickstart recovery.