Europe 'more than ever' needs strong Paris, Berlin ties: France
France's Prime Minister said Wednesday that Europe needs strong ties between Paris and Berlin at this time of economic crisis, just days after his former economy minister slammed German-led austerity policies.
In a speech to the country's main MEDEF employers' union that earned him ecstatic applause, Manuel Valls also professed his love for entrepreneurs and companies as he consolidates his government's pro-business stance.
"Now more than ever, Europe needs strong and lasting ties between France and Germany," he told the gathering.
"I reject any absurd face-to-face with Germany," he added, in a pointed dig at Arnaud Montebourg, the former economy minister whose weekend remarks slamming France's economic direction and ally Germany cost him his job and prompted an emergency cabinet reshuffle.
Valls, who was appointed in March after the ruling Socialist party suffered a drubbing in local polls, has been tasked with implementing a package of tax breaks for businesses funded by public spending cuts.
Those on the left of the party are strongly against this so-called Responsibility Pact, but Valls -- who veers more towards the centre of the political spectrum -- has strongly defended it as the only way to drag France out of the crisis.
"France needs you," he told the gathering.
© 2014 AFP