EU finance ministers aim to defuse Paris, Berlin row

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EU finance ministers aim to defuse Paris, Berlin row

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It’s the row that driving a wedge between Paris and Berlin.

France says it will miss EU spending targets this year, upsetting Germany, which remains insistent on fiscal discipline.

Eurozone finance ministers are meeting in Luxembourg to try and defuse tensions between the two major European economies.

“I do respect France very much, and it is up to France to draw up the budget and to send it to the commission. but they have to realise that flexibility doesn’t mean anything goes,” said Jeroen Dijsselbloem, the chair of the Eurogroup, an informal body that coordinates EU economic policy.

The unelected EU executive, the European Commission, now has the power to veto national budgets under new rules agreed by member states last year.

“EU rules are there to be followed,” said German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble. “That’s what rules are all about. But I’m confident that a solution will be found in the case of France.”

France says deeper spending cuts will strangle its already weak growth rates.

The French economy expanded by 0.3 percent last year. The European Commission forecasts it will grow by 1.0 percent in 2014.