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EU official defends strong euro as good for economy

A senior European Union official, commissioner Joaquin Almunia, has defended the strong euro as good for the EU economy, according to the newspaper Berliner Zeitung.

The German newspaper's early account of an interview to appear on its pages Monday quoted him saying, “A strong euro is the best proof that the economy in the euro zone is functioning well, that it is highly regarded and that markets are very confident about its future.”

Almunia, who oversees economic and monetary policy, said the rise in the currency against the dollar was “not all that exciting” and mainly impacted on European business dealings with the dollar area of world trade. It had positive effects, such as making imports cheaper. He said his only concern would be if the dollar rate to the euro were to rise very rapidly, but there was no sign of that at the moment.

On Friday, the European Central Bank (ECB) published a reference rate of 1.3596 dollars to the euro. (