In an exclusive interview with the business daily, German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble airs his views on the Brussels decision to allow Paris two more years in which to rein in its deficit to 3 per cent.

Pointing out that both “France and Germany have a special duty” with regard to Europe, he notes that the European Commission granted the extension on condition that there would be “a clear demonstration of commitment to necessary reforms.”

Schäuble also commented on the controversy triggered by an internal French Socialist Party document, which described Angela Markel as an “austerity chancellor” —

Instead of tackling the real causes of ongoing problems, some politicians prefer to hunt for scapegoats. It is a tendency that also exists in our country. But at the end of the day, what counts is what governments and peoples actually say. And both governments have clearly expressed the importance they attribute to Franco-German friendship.