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EU on BRINK as Lagarde admits bleak outlook for European economy – 'let's face it'

Ms Lagarde was addressing the media at an EU summit of European Council leaders in Brussels on Thursday. She made remarks about the European Central Bank and the impact of Brexit on the European economy. Ms Lagarde said: “On the outlook, relatively weak growth let’s face it.”

But she added she believed “risks” were now less “pronounced” than they were before. 

The EU chief said: “What I think gives us some hope is the fact that those down-side risks that we had on the horizon are less pronounced.

“And I am not going to bet on how trade discussions between the US and China are heading.

“Or when these discussions will be completed or what they will deliver.”

READ MORE: EU row explodes: ‘Not with OUR money’ Bettel hits out in nuclear feud

Christine Lagarde admits 'weak' growth

EU latest news: Christine Lagarde admits ‘weak’ growth in Europe economy (Image: EBS )

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Christine Lagarde admits growth is weak in Europe

Christine Lagarde admits growth is weak in Europe (Image: EBS)

On her approach to monetary policy, the head of the European Central Bank described herself as neither a dove nor a hawk, but an “owl that is often associated with a little bit of wisdom.”

She also spoke about the bank’s ambitions to launch a digital currency by mid-2020.

Addressing the matter she argued the bank needed to decide what it wanted to achieve with the project before moving on to the technicalities.

She said: “Are we trying to reduce costs? Are we trying to cut out the middleman?

Christine Lagarde

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EU news: Christine Lagarde speaks to media at Brussels EU summit (Image: EBS)

“Are we trying have inclusive finance at no cost? There is a whole range of objectives that can be pursued.”

Noting the interest shown by central banks in Canada, Britain and elsewhere, she said: “My personal conviction is that given developments we see, not so much in bitcoin but in stablecoins projects… we’d better be ahead of the curve because there is clearly demand out there that we have to respond to.”

Her intervention comes as a heated row broke out at the summit between Luxembourgish Prime Minister Xavier Bettel and Emmanuel Macron over the EU’s nuclear ambitions. 

Mr Bettel harshly rejected proposals to have EU countries switch to nuclear energy as a transition while Emmanuel Macron insisted nuclear can be “part of the mix.”


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Asked whether he considered nuclear to be a “green” form of energy, Ms Bettel said: “Pardon? No, I understand your question but I’m a bit surprised.

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“When I see the problem we have had with the waste, the problems we have with the incidents, the problems of those who live side by side with the power plants that have been built…

“I think each country today is free to choose their energy mix.

“But if it has to be paid for with the money of EU taxpayers, no, I’m not in favour.”

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