Manuel Valls wins German praise for plan to reform French economy

Manuel Valls has used his first visit to Berlin as French prime minister to try to convince Germany that his government is serious about making its economy more competitive, declaring that France “is not the sick child of Europe”.

The German chancellor, Angela Merkel, praised the reforms he outlined, but said it was up to the European commission to judge whether Paris should be granted yet more time to bring its public deficit down to EU treaty limits.

After a working lunch with Merkel, Valls said France would find a way to emulate Germany’s progress from “sick man of Europe” a decade ago to the growth engine of the eurozone, as long as Berlin supported French calls to boost demand.

“I understand the doubts and questions of the German people, its representatives and sometimes the press, many who say essentially, ‘we suffered through reforms and the French aren’t capable of it. And if they don’t do it, it’s not good for Germany’,” he told a news conference.

“Germans like the French when they keep to their promises. And the French like the Germans when they try to understand them.”

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