Top French banker: Le Pen's euro exit would cost billions

Big heads of French presidential candidates, Marine Le Pen, left, of the far-right National Front, and Francois Fillon of the right-wing Republicans party, join the Nice Carnival parade, Saturday, Feb. 11, 2017, in Nice, southeastern France. Floats in the Carnival's 133rd edition that kicked off on Saturday were led by the King of Energy, this year's theme, and followed notably by a huge Donald Trump with hair dryers trained on his crown of blond hair. (AP Photo/Henri Grivot)

PARIS — France's central bank chief says that presidential candidate Marine Le Pen's proposal to leave the euro currency would cost the country more than 30 billion euros ($32 billion) a year in extra debt interest.

Francois Villeroy de Galhau vigorously defended the euro on France-Inter radio Monday, warning voters not to believe Le Pen's nationalist promises of stronger purchasing power if France abandons the shared currency.

Villeroy de Galhau said leaving the euro would unleash high inflation, devastating individuals' savings.

A major question is how Le Pen would handle France's considerable debt. She said last week she would redenominate most of it into a new currency.

The central bank chief estimated that the extra debt interest would be over 30 billion euros a year, roughly equivalent to France's entire military budget.

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