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“If the Euro fails, Europe fails”, warns Germany’s Merkel

Tuesday, November 16th 2010 - 12:07 UTC
Full article 9 comments

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said the Euro is the glue that holds Europe together, signalling that an Irish bailout may be the price of preserving European unity.

Merkel is “trying to send a clear message that Germany is pro-European, that they are ready to help out Ireland, Portugal and other countries if necessary and they will not put the Euro at risk,” Henrik Enderlein, a political economist at the Hertie School of Governance in Berlin, said.She “wants the Irish to take the bailout now to make it clear to everyone that the situation is safe, that markets should calm down.”

Merkel elevated the Euro to a matter of life and death for European unity as the European Union statistics office said the Euro area’s budget deficit swelled to more than double EU limits last year, led by Greece and Ireland. Merkel, without mentioning Ireland, said that Germany’s task is to “anchor a new stability culture in Europe” to prevent a repeat of the debt crisis.

“If the Euro fails, then Europe fails,” Merkel said Monday in a speech to a convention of her Christian Democratic Union party in Karlsruhe, south-western Germany. The 16-nation Euro- area’s collapse would signal the end of Europe’s “uniting idea” that gave the continent peace and prosperity after World War II, she said.

The chancellor’s reminder of the Euro’s importance may be a signal that an Irish bailout would not be a disaster for Europe, said Gerd Langguth, a professor of political science at the University of Bonn and a Merkel biographer.

“She’s preparing her party for the trials and tribulations to come and saying let’s get on with it,” Langguth said in an interview in Karlsruhe. “If Ireland needs financial help, then so be it. That doesn’t spell the end of the long march for European integration.”

Merkel spoke as Euro-area finance ministers prepare to meet in Brussels Tuesday amid growing pressure on Ireland to tap the Euro-area bailout fund to calm markets. As well as Ireland, ministers are due to discuss a permanent crisis-resolution mechanism being drawn up by mid-December to replace the rescue fund after its mandate runs out in 2013.

Changes to EU treaties to stem a Euro crisis, dismissed by some as a “utopian” idea, can and must be made to backstop the single currency, Merkel said, defending her call to make investors pay for future debt crises. It was market “excesses” that caused the crisis, and “markets have to bear the consequences of their actions.”

Merkel’s coalition has “agreed a set of mechanism proposals that include private investors as a core element, involving if necessary taking a haircut,” or loss on their investment, Leo Dautzenberg, finance spokesman for Merkel’s CDU, said in an interview in Karlsruhe. “Wall Street investors have also got to shoulder their liabilities. We can’t push everything on to taxpayers.”

Merkel has publicly clashed with European Central Bank President Jean-Claude Trichet over the permanent mechanism, with Trichet saying that requiring investors to take losses in a sovereign rescue would undermine confidence.

Top Comments

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  • xbarilox

    Ouch! Not a good sign at all, definitely.

    ”That doesn't spell the end of the long march for European integration.”wow so they are integrated, like water and oil.

    Nov 16th, 2010 - 02:53 pm 0
  • briton

    All this does, is make a referendum on europe more closer,
    Britain will be hurt for a while, But we will be much stronger if we get away from those greedy European crooks .

    Nov 17th, 2010 - 12:18 am 0
  • Typhoon

    For the fourth time in 210 years, Britain is coming to the aid of Europe. First by freeing Europe of Napoleon, then by freeing Europe of the imperial ambitions of the Kaiser, then by freeing Europe from the maniacal tyranny of Hitler and the Nazis. And now we are moving to free Europe from the Evil Empire. When we have achieved our primary objective, we will save billions of pounds. Then we will be able to throw out hundreds of thousands of immigrant scroungers saving more billions. Then we can rebuild our military forces so that no-one will ever dare challenge us again.

    Nov 17th, 2010 - 11:47 am 0
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