Euro has ‘never been so THREATENED’ France warns of EU disaster on eve of elections

The French economy chief said that European sovereignists like far-right leaders Marine Le Pen and Matteo Salvini, were openly calling for the single currency to “disappear”. Mr Le Maire told reporters in Paris: “There are those who, like myself, think that the euro is now under threat. It has never been so threatened as it is today. The single currency is above all under threat politically now because many conservative radicals in Europe, namely the Italian League’s Matteo Salvini and Marine Le Pen, are openly calling for the euro to disappear and for a return to national currencies.”

In a separate interview on Sunday, Mr Le Maire warned that a win by Mrs Le Pen’s far-right Rassemblement national (RN) party in this weekend’s European parliament elections could hurt the euro and damage the French economy. 

Opinion polls show Mrs Le Pen’s nationalist party, formerly known as the Front National, to be neck-and-neck with President Emmanuel Macron’s centrist La République en Marche (REM). 

“If the nationalists, through Marine Le Pen, win on May 26, it would be serious for our finances, it would be serious for the stability of the euro,” he told BFM television. 

Countries in a “fragile” eurozone, he continued, should consider taking extra steps to support the single currency, including measures addressing its budget, banking and capital market unions.  

“These decisions are hard to make. If we do not take them, it is the euro that risks being threatened,” he said.

In Paris, Mr Le Maire added that the single currency was also “jeopardised” by the escalating US-China trade war, which he warned could “increase the risk of another global financial crisis”. 

The tit-for-tat trade dispute between Washington and Beijing escalated sharply last week after the US put China’s Huawei Technologies on a trade blacklist, effectively banning US firms from doing business with the world’s largest telecoms network gear maker. 

Just days before that, US President Donald Trump had increased tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods. 

Mr Macron, a former investment banker and economy minister, is an ardent advocate of euro zone reform, an overhaul he says is necessary to strengthen the financial plumbing of the European economy. 

The Macron government, has, among other things, called for the bloc to designate a euro zone finance minister, the creation of a common budget for the currency bloc and for the EU to set up its own version of the International Monetary Fund.

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