Cash-strapped France on Sunday called on Europe's economic powerhouse Germany to invest 50 billion euros more by 2018 to match the amount that Paris is planning to slash from its public spending.
The call from France's Finance Minister Michel Sapin and Economy Minister Emmanuel Macron came on the eve of their visit to Berlin, where they are due to hold talks with their German counterparts on boosting investments and growth.
"Fifty billion euros ($64 billion) savings for us and 50 billion of additional investment by you -- that would be a good balance," Macron was quoted as saying by the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.
"It's in our collective interest that Germany invests," he added in pre-released quotes for Monday's edition.
France has pledged to reduce its public spending by 50 billion euros in order to meet an EU budget deficit ceiling of 3 percent by 2017.
But French President Francois Hollande is also calling on EU member states -- in particular Germany -- to invest in order to stimulate growth in the eurozone's moribund economy.
His appeal may yet fall on deaf ears. For German Chancellor Angela Merkel and her team, balancing the federal state budget for the first time since 1969 is a priority.
"It's the only way to inspire confidence," German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said in an interview on Sunday.
While admitting that Germany needs to invest, he refused to consider financing such investments using credit.