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EU : Growth Strategy Not Alternative To Fiscal Consolidation

04/30/2012 | 08:05am US/Eastern

Efforts to find ways to boost regional growth aren't an alternative to fiscal consolidation, a European Commission spokeswoman said Monday, as she played down weekend media reports that talked of massive new European Union-funded investment projects.

The spokeswoman, Pia Ahrenkilde-Hansen, said there had been "highly speculative figures" floated in media reports "which have no reality as far as we are concerned."

She said that efforts to boost growth rates aren't "an alternative to fiscal consolidation."

A report in Spanish newspaper El Pais over the weekend cited European officials discussing a Marshall Plan of large-scale investments to help revive the regional economy, saying up to EUR200 billion would be mobilized.

However, the spokeswoman confirmed Monday that the Commission continues to work on a plan to boost the European Investment Bank's capital by EUR10 billion.

Earlier this month, Barroso said that such a boost could unlock as much as EUR180 billion in total private and public investment over time.

-By Laurence Norman, Dow Jones Newswires; +32 (0)2 741 1481; laurence.norman@dowjones.com

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