March 12, 2020 / 3:57 PM / in a month

France urges 'massive' EU fiscal stimulus to amplify ECB action

PARIS (Reuters) - Measures announced by the European Central bank for firms hit by the fallout from coronavirus will help, but need to be amplified by “massive” fiscal measures from European governments, France’s finance minister said.

The ECB approved fresh stimulus measures to help the bloc cope with the “major shock” of coronavirus but left interest rates on hold, dismaying markets, and said euro zone governments must lead the pandemic response.

“(ECB chief) Christine Lagarde’s measures provide liquidity to small and mid-sized firms that they absolutely need in this period of crisis,” Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said in a statement.

“These measures need to be completed by massive budgetary and liquidity measures coordinated at the European level. We have to hit hard at the European level to support our firms and their employees,” he added.

Reporting by Leigh Thomas; editing by Michel Rose

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