Jean-Claude Juncker – EU chief says French ‘spend too much’ after Macron victory | Politics | News

Speaking in Bonn alongside the German foreign minister Sigmar Gabriel the top eurocrat accused Paris of “spending too much money” and said it needed to impose austerity to help the EU project. 

Mr Macron, a committed euro federalist, has already pledged swingeing public sector job cuts to bring France’s national debt to GDP ratio below the three per cent limit imposed on member states by Brussels. 

The frank comments by Mr Juncker come amid widespread relief across Europe at the centrist’s election victory over Marine Le Pen, who wanted France to quit the euro single currency. 

They also demonstrate the extent to which Brussels will feel it can shape French policy with Mr Macron, a political novice and former investment banker, at the helm in the Elysee Palace. 

The new President’s critics, including the defeated Ms Le Pen, have already raised fears that he will be too subservient when it comes to dealing with Brussels and German leader Angela Merkel. 

And speaking at the launch of Mr Gabriel’s new book this afternoon, Mr Juncker wasted no time in outlining where EU officials will be looking to exert pressure in the coming weeks. 

He said: “With France, we have a particular problem. The French spend too much money and they spend too much in the wrong places. This will not work over time.” 

At the same time, however, he endorsed calls from Mr Gabriel to boost investment in Europe, despite the fact many member states see Germany as the main obstacle to breaking the cycle of austerity. 

During the event the top eurocrat also expressed his view that member states should treat policies devised in Brussels in the same way as their own domestic agendas because “Europe is an indispensable idea on our continent”.

And he repeated his somewhat gloomy assessment of Europe’s economic future, saying the continent’s importance was waning and that it needed to stick together to face the global challenges ahead. 

Mr Juncker said Europeans “still pretend…

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