European Central Bank chief asks governments to help growth

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A police boat cruises over the river Main with the buildings of the banking district in background in Frankfurt, Germany, Tuesday, Nov. 19, 2019. (AP Photo/Michael Probst)

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — The new president of the European Central Bank, Christine Lagarde, says better-targeted public spending would help support economic growth in the eurozone.

In her first official speech Friday, Lagarde indirectly chided countries like Germany that have kept a tight grip on their budgets while making clear that a spendthrift approach to public spending would be hazardous, too.

Lagarde said “there is today a cross-cutting case for investment in a common future that is more productive, more digital and certainly greener” and warned that public spending in the 19-country eurozone “remains some way below its pre-crisis level.”

She also said the ECB will begin a strategic review of its monetary policy “in the near future” but the bank would also “continuously monitor the side effects” of its current low-interest stance.

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