Lagarde insists France is not threatened financially

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French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde insisted on Monday that France faced no financial threat and said it was economically unsound to compare France with Ireland.

Lagarde told RTL radio that the just-approved 85-billion-euro (113-billion-dollar) EU-IMF rescue for Ireland and its banks would be "sufficient" and she hoped it would "douse the fire," as reference to fears that other financially troubled eurozone members might need a bailout as well.

The minister also reacted to the tenor of a headline in the Journal du Dimanche newspaper that read: "Financial crisis: France threatened."

"To say that France is threatened makes headlines ... but I think it is economically unsound.

"When I look at the interest rate and risk curves, when I consider the rates at which France is financing itself, we are at the head of the pack, we have the lowest interest rates."

She added that along with Germany, the Netherlands, Austria and Finland, "we are the best risks in Europe."

© 2010 AFP

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