Europe needs 'pro-growth agenda,' not monetary easing: Trump adviser

White House chief economic advisor Larry Kudlow leaves the West Wing of the White House in Washington, U.S. August 2, 2019. REUTERS/Carlos Barria

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The European Union needs a “pro-growth agenda,” and not more easing of monetary policy, to pull its economy out of the doldrums, a top adviser to U.S. President Donald Trump said on Friday.

“I do not believe, this is just me talking, that more liquidity and more quantitative easing is going to do the job,” White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow told Fox Business.

“Europe needs a pro-growth agenda if they expect to normalize their interest rates. Just pouring more and more money in is not the issue,” he said, adding he would take that message to the upcoming meetings of leaders of the Group of Seven economies later this month.

The European Central Bank held its benchmark refinancing rate at zero at a meeting last week, while ECB President Mario Draghi said policymakers were devising a stimulus package, possibly to implement in September.

The relatively lower level of European rates compared U.S. borrowing costs has been a factor in dollar strength against the euro.

“You’ve heard President Trump speak to this,” Kudlow added. “He does not like the idea that Europe, either wittingly or unwittingly, is essentially manipulating the euro currency downward.”

“They need lower tax rates. They need lower regulations. They need to have more market-oriented energy. They need to reduce trade barriers. That’s very important,” Kudlow said of Europe.

Trump has repeatedly criticized the U.S. Federal Reserve for acting too timidly to support the U.S. economy in light of monetary easing by central banks elsewhere, complaining that dollar strength was hurting U.S. exports.

After the Fed lowered interest rates at a two-day meeting that concluded on Wednesday, Trump criticized the central bank’s chairman, Jerome Powell, for suggesting a lengthy easing cycle was not in store. “Powell let us down,” Trump lamented on Twitter.

Reporting by Susan Heavey and Tim Ahmann; Editing by Bernadette Baum and David Gregorio