Sarkozy criticizes ECB on interest rate hike

In his latest spat with the European Central Bank, French President Nicolas Sarkozy criticized the bank's decision to hike interest rates to their highest level in nearly seven years.


French President Nicolas Sarkozy on Saturday questioned the European Central Bank's decision to hike interest rates by a quarter point to 4.25 percent, asking at a ruling party meeting whether it was "reasonable."

The ECB lifted its main interest rate on Thursday to a seven-year high of 4.25 percent in hope of putting a lid on record inflation.

"I was among those who voted for independence of the ECB, I don't regret it," Sarkozy told the meeting of his UMP in Paris.

"I was among those who voted for independence of the euro, I don't regret that," the head of state went on.

"But all the same, without compromising everything I believe in, I have the right as president of the French republic to wonder if it is reasonable to raise the European rates to 4.25 percent while the Americans have rates of 2.0 percent," Sarkozy said.

At the UMP national council meeting, with a European theme, Sarkozy was to present the priorities of the French presidency of the EU which kicked off on July 1.

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