Sarkozy criticises ECB rate stance in subprime storm

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PARIS, Sep 15 (Reuters) French president Nicolas Sarkozy today resumed his campaign for lower interest rates in Europe as he issued thinly veiled criticism to the way the European Central Bank had handled the credit crisis.

In an interview with the Le Monde newspaper, published today, Sarkozy called for a real dialogue with the ECB on interest rates now that the euro is at record highs and said he was surprised by the way the ECB handled the fall-out of the subprime credit crisis in the United States.

''I found it curious (that the ECB) injected funds without reducing rates,'' he said.

''We have created facilities for speculators, we complicate the work of companies,'' he was quoted as saying, adding he would continue his 'attacks' on the way Europe is handing financial issues.

Sarkozy added he was not very worried about the growth prospects for France.

''Whether the growth is 1.9 per cent or 2.3 per cent, fundamentally that makes not a big difference because what I want is 3.0 per cent,'' he said.

''In any case we need to make reforms to realise this extra point of growth,'' he added.

REUTERS GT HS1443

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