NANTES - French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault welcomed a European deal to help Spain's teetering banks but coupled his words of support with a call for bigger efforts to spur flagging economic growth in the region.
Speaking after casting his vote in a parliamentary election, Ayrault told reporters: "Helping Spain was the right decision but more are needed to boost growth and propose something that restores the confidence of the European people."France's new Socialist president, Francois Hollande, wants a European fiscal responsibility pact agreed last March to be reworked to include more measures to stimulate growth, tempering what he considered an excessive focus on cutbacks.
The Spanish deal Ayrault was referring to is an accord that euro zone finance ministers struck on Saturday to lend up to 100 billion euros ($125 billion) to shore up banks in Spain, the latest euro zone country to feel the full whip of debt market crisis that has forced Greece, Ireland and Portugal into full-scale economic rescues and austerity programs.
Hollande's leeway for the next five years after his own election on May 6 hinges on a left-wing win in a two-round parliamentary election that started on Sunday and finished on June 17.