EU leader urges budget restraint

March 12, 2013 at 7:12 AM

BRUSSELS, March 12 (UPI) -- European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso advised EU countries to continue with austerity budgets to halt their economic woes.

In a letter to member states sent ahead of a regional meeting, Barroso said that "steadfast implementation of reforms is beginning to deliver results in terms of current accounts and regaining competitiveness."

The New York Times reported Tuesday that Barroso sent the letter, which included charts that highlighted economic gains made by Ireland and Portugal, countries that have received large international bailout loans to pull them through the sovereign debt crisis.

Barroso also said that the region should be wary of continued production cost discrepancies, noting that economies in France, Italy, Belgium and Hungary have higher labor costs than their trading partners.

Barroso is expected to meet with harsh criticism from leaders representing some of Europe's largest economies. Leaders from France, Italy and Spain have criticized the austerity budget strategy, complaining that it is holding back economic growth, the Times said.

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