WASHINGTON – The United States called on Europe Wednesday to further ease fiscal consolidation to avoid more economic damage, ahead of talks among G7 finance chiefs on the global economy this weekend.
Europe’s leaders have been successful at removing some of the more immediate risks in the eurozone crisis, a senior US Treasury official said in a briefing on the US view ahead of the meeting outside London on Friday and Saturday.
“It’s important to recalibrate the pace of fiscal consolidation…. continued sharp fiscal consolidation risks undermining demand.”
Washington has been urging European leaders for months to lighten a requirement for the crisis countries of the eurozone periphery to slash their deficits, arguing that steep austerity is worsening the region’s recession rather than turning it around.
The official cheered the fact that France, Spain and the Netherlands have been given extra time to meet deficit reduction targets.
“But there’s room to do more in the near term,” the official said.
Pointing to Germany, the eurozone’s largest and healthiest economy, the official said fiscally stronger countries can do more to spark demand.
Doing so will “provide relief to euro area partners but also spur the world economy.”
The official also added that the United States would be pressing to advance an initiative endorsed by the G20 in April for advanced economies to automatically share bank account data to fight offshore tax avoidance.