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Industry

French, German business leaders want harmonized EU industrial policy

Germany's and France's leading industry associations have called on their governments to take more measures to increase the EU's economic clout. They said a harmonized policy was required to ensure decent growth.

Hours before a meeting with French President Francois Hollande in Paris, Germany's and France's big industry associations, BDI and MEDEF, agreed that a fundamental change in the EU's industrial policy was needed to enhance the bloc's competitiveness long-term.

Speaking at a news conference in Paris on Wednesday morning, BDI President Ulrich Grillo and his MEDEF counterpart, Pierre Gattaz, called on their respective governments to come up with a more harmonized scheme to foster output and growth as the continent kept emerging from a protracted crisis.

In a joint declaration, the two lobby groups warned some 90 percent of global growth was being generated outside Europe.

Balanced policy of consolidation and growth

"Only if Germany and France act in concert [will we] be able to stop this development," Grillo told reporters. He added that the between 2000 and 2012 Europe's share in global net product creation had shrunk from 25.7 percent to 20.8 percent.

Europe's limp steel industry

BDI and MEDEF mentioned in particular that tax hikes had to be avoided by all means so as not to nip a nascent economic recovery in the bud and harm growth prospects.

The two associations also lashed out against any form of European financial transaction tax which they said would put participating nations at a disadvantage in trying to attract badly needed fresh investment capital.

They also indicated some governments in Europe had clearly overshot the mark in hoping to fix budget holes while giving growth incentives short shrift.

hg/kms (dpa, Reuters)

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