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France’s Ayrault Criticizes German Inflation Focus, SZ Reports

French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault upbraided what he called an excessive focus on inflation in Germany and said the two countries must work to increase mutual understanding, Sueddeutsche Zeitung reported.

Ayrault called for closer ties between the euro area’s two biggest economies and pointed to “excessive disquiet” in Germany, according to an interview he gave to the newspaper. He will meet Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin tomorrow.

“Germany shouldn’t be worried only about inflation, but also deflation,” Ayrault told Sueddeutsche in a preview of tomorrow’s edition. “We need to speak to each other even more; at the moment our mutual understanding is maybe insufficient.”

Ayrault spoke following criticism from officials in Merkel’s government about the pace and substance of France’s economic reforms. German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble, who spoke yesterday in Brussels at a joint press briefing with French Finance Minister Pierre Moscovici, warned against calling France the “sick man” of Europe, saying the two countries shouldn’t criticize each other.

“Our German friends should understand one thing: our social model is based on social justice,” Ayrault told the newspaper. He lauded German labor cooperation and said the countries should establish energy cooperation.

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