- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 7, 2013

Europe needs to quit the austerity and focus on promoting growth, said France’s finance minister, Pierre Moscovici.

Mr. Moscovici warned that failure to do so would only drive a populist mentality and lead to deeper fiscal and social upheaval, The Associated Press reports. In his words: Strict austerity will simply “nourish a social crisis that leads to populism,” he said, AP reports.

The 17-nation eurozone is in the throes of recession, and unemployment has hit record highs — in the double-digits, in some nations. Protesters have been out in full force in recent months, decrying EU-backed austerity measures that are aimed at curbing government expenses and fighting down debt.

Mr. Moscovici’s pushback against austerity comes even as he admits that France will not meet its deficit-reduction targets for the year, AP reports.