Baroin joins French Brit-bashing chorus

French Finance Minister François Baroin raised concerns about the state of the British economy on Friday and said France was in better shape.

“It’s true that the economic situation in Great Britain is very worrying and that we prefer being French rather than British on the economic front at the moment,” Baroin said on Europe 1 radio.

“We don’t want to be given any lessons and we don’t give any,” he said, fuelling a British-French row that broke out Thursday when senior French officials mockingly criticised the British economy, arguing that ratings agencies are targeting the wrong country for a debt downgrade.

“They should start by degrading the United Kingdom, which has greater deficits, as much debt, more inflation and less growth than us,” central bank chief Christian Noyer had told the regional newspaper Le Telegramme.

Noyer also warned that Britain, which clashed with France at last week’s EU crisis summit and refused to join the members of the eurozone single currency bloc in a new fiscal pact, was facing a credit crunch.

The British press reacted furiously on Friday.

His comments were dismissed as “outrageous” and “plain wrong” by The Times.

“It is simply not the job of a central bank governor to urge the downgrading of another country’s credit,” it added.

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