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Schaeuble “very optimistic” on France

Davos, Switzerland - German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said on Friday that he was optimistic France would emerge stronger once it implements the economic reforms announced last week by President Francois Hollande.

“France is and remains a strong country and France will make the right decisions,” Schaeuble said at the World Economic Forum in Davos in response to a question about whether Germany's neighbour had done enough to bolster its struggling economy.

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble attends a session at the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos January 24, 2014. Credit: Reuters

“We've seen that the French president has made the necessary decisions and I think it is the right path,” Schaeuble added.

“I am very optimistic that the role of France will be strengthened through this and that we can bring Europe forward together.”

Hollande unveiled a series of policy measures last week, including public spending cuts and tax relief for businesses, designed to strengthen France's sluggish economy.

Although big questions remain about his ability to implement his plans in the face of opposition from unions and within his own Socialist party, the steps are being compared to reforms pushed through a decade ago by former German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder.

Many economists credit these reforms, known by the name “Agenda 2010”, with returning Germany to strong growth rates and pushing unemployment to post-reunification lows. - Reuters

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