French minister calls on European Central Bank to do more for jobless, growth

PARIS – A French official says the European Central Bank is shirking its responsibilities toward Europe’s unemployed.

Industrial Recovery Minister Arnaud Montebourg’s comments go against a custom that politicians not meddle in the ECB’s work.

Montebourg told Europe 1 radio Sunday: “It’s not dealing with growth. It’s not taking care of the unemployed. It’s not taking care of the European people. And it has a duty to do so.”

He called on ECB President Mario Draghi to buy the debt of European countries. The ECB has a program to do just that — but countries must first agree to reforms.

Montebourg also said the bank is keeping the euro strong, which is hurting exports. “What I am asking (Draghi) is to give us the weapons to fight unfair offshoring.”