But the proposals – unveiled in a four-point plan called a ‘new eurozone growth compact’ – are unlikely to go down well in Germany or Holland where previous attempts to boost the common currency have been roundly rejected. Mr Le Maire told the Financial Times: “There are many countries in the eurozone that have the means to invest more. The members of the eurozone have not taken all the decisions necessary to confront a new economic or financial crisis and today they are not taking the decisions needed for growth to be at the maximum of its potential.”
France was met with fierce opposition when it tried to initiate a common eurozone budget from 2021 to help vulnerable eurozone survive economic downturns.
Mr Le Maire said the idea was beginning to be put in place but predicted difficult negotiations over an inter-governmental agreement to govern how money would be spent and on what.
He said in the meantime countries such as Germany would spend more, while less competitive eurozone members, including France, would pursue reforms and restructuring to strengthen their public finances.
He said: “I’m worried about the global growth slowdown.
“Today we can see that the American budgetary stimulus is reaching its end, we see growth is stalling in China and in Europe, especially the eurozone, we see a sharp slowdown in Germany and a recession in Italy.”
Mr Le Maire, who wants to make the EU a global power capable of confronting the US and China, described Brexit as a “thunderbolt” that had proved a systemic shock for the bloc.
He added: “We should profit from this departure of the British to ask ourselves what we want from Europe.
“We should use it to bring closer the countries that too often have the feeling that they are left out of European structures.
“It’s essential to better integrate the countries of eastern Europe, Poland and all the eastern states.
“It’s the world’s biggest market, the most powerful market in the world, but it’s also the most open market in the world, which has clearly been too open and too easy to access, compared to other markets that protected themselves more.”