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Steinbrück attacks Merkel over euro crisis

The Local · 18 Oct 2012, 15:53

Published: 18 Oct 2012 15:53 GMT+02:00

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Speaking in a parliamentary debate, Steinbrück made a strong attack on her handling of the euro crisis, saying Merkel had allowed her government to "bully Greece" for months without intervening.

He charged the Chancellor with not having explained the importance of the European project and complained she had not been open to the Germans about the fact that Greece would require more help.

Meanwhile, said Steinbrück, Merkel's government was not doing enough at home to promote growth.

"Rarely has Germany been as isolated as today," Steinbrück told the lower house of parliament, the Bundestag. "Out of a one-sided analysis of the crisis comes a one-sided medicine: save, save, save."

Merkel spoke out again for further united efforts, just hours before the start of a two-day EU summit which kicks off on Thursday evening. She avoided attacking Steinbrück - who was her Finance Minister in the “grand coalition” her conservatives formed with the SPD from 2005 until 2009.

EU heads of state will meet to discuss closer cooperation in economic and finance policy in further attempts to solve the Euro crisis.

The summit will also explore Europe-wide supervision of the banking sector under the European Central Bank (ECB). France and Spain are pushing for this to be put into place rapidly so that finance European bailout funds can be pumped directly into ailing banks, but Germany remains cautious.

Merkel warned against rushing into an ineffective banking supervisory system for banks while also dampening expectations of fast, direct injections of finance to banks by the ECB. She predicted wide-reaching decisions on the Euro would be made in December.

Merkel's further policy suggestions included the creation of a new aid package and the strengthening of the role of the European Commission's top finance official, the Monetary Affairs Commissioner, giving them "real rights to intervention" in national budgets, backing a proposal made by Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble.

In many countries, said Merkel, the giving the European Commission the power to veto member states' national budgets would not go down well. "That won't change the fact that we will pursue it," she added.

The Chancellor went on to say that although she saw in Athens a "serious desire for change," Greece had so far failed to push through the austerity reforms requested by the troika, but stated she wants Greece to stay in the Euro zone.

She suggested setting up a fund for supporting reforms in crisis countries as a "new element of solidarity." The money could be used for short-term, project-based costs and could be collected from revenue from a planned tax on financial transactions, she said.

Story continues below…

In a recent Forsa polling company study for the Stern news magazine, Steinbrück was given an approval rating of 40 percent.

Yet Merkel retains a clear lead over her rival, scoring far ahead in perceived leadership qualities, and with an overall approval rating of 53 percent. The general election is to be held next September.

DPA/The Local/AFP/jlb

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

17:53 October 18, 2012 by smart2012
Well, it sounds exactly what I did say.. Verkel had made a big deal out of nothing (Greece for Europe is nothing) with the result of Bild populistic press starting to day that Germans are better than others and that Germany does not need Europe. Both statements completely opposite to reality.. And now Germany is paying the bill with less export and less internal demand.. Well done verkel!
18:25 October 18, 2012 by blackboot11
Austerity is simply forcing the poor to pay for the mistakes of the wealthy,

just as the 400 € 'mini job' will be the death of the German economic situation.
19:18 October 18, 2012 by sonriete
Europe wide supervision of the banking sector by the ECB? Do they mean the Eurozone?

Or perhaps the entire EU including opt out countries like the UK and Sweden?

Or perhaps all of Europe, includind Switzerland and Ukraine?

These Brussels mandarins are becoming far too grand in my view!

Using money from the proposed tax on financial transactions to fund projects in crisis countries?

Starting to sound a lot like a north south transfer union to me...
21:04 October 18, 2012 by Berlin fuer alles
Dr. Merkyl and Mr. Hyde is how she acted during this crisis. A villian outside Germany and a liar at home. She used the Euro crisis as a political football with the help of BILD. This is coming more and more to light now even to BILD readers. Angies legacy will show Germany as the spreaders of misery for the 3rd time in a century.
00:01 October 19, 2012 by IchBinKönig
It isn't just BILD, folks.

You people denying that there is a problem in Greece are sounding very silly.

00:57 October 19, 2012 by Berlin fuer alles

there always has been a problem in Greece. Angie is acting like it is something new but it was her government who helped slip them through the back door into the Eurozone when the problem as already there. Why would she do that one would wonder?
01:34 October 19, 2012 by schneebeck
There was a time when Peer Steinbrück was critical of oversized public debt caused by fiscal stimulus measures.

Doesn't the avoidance of austerity measures require the avoidance of limits to borrowing?

If there were no austerity requirements, what would the size of Greece's public debt look like today?

Would additional borrowing and public spending have created any significant stimulus?

Was there a way for Greece to return to normalcy without any pain? Was there someway for Greece to avoid a societal meltdown?

What pain would the less influential in Greek society be exposed to in the future when this catastrophe became three times as large?
05:35 October 19, 2012 by hanskarl
Herr Peer must be getting his cues from Barry O in the US!!
08:42 October 19, 2012 by Bavaria Mike
Let's see what happens after November 6th!
15:37 October 19, 2012 by Peepopaapo
@ Berlin fuer alles: Since when is Merkel and her government responsible for letting Greece become a member of the Eurozone? At that particular time the social democrats and the greens used to govern Germany.
22:43 October 19, 2012 by blackboot11
while germany is imposing austerity on the greek citizens rather than punishing the politicians and bankers.... meanwile in Mitte, the new Schloss is being built.....
15:13 October 20, 2012 by sonriete
Germany is not imposing austerity on anyone. She is placing conditions in exchange for gifts and loans others plead with her for. There is a difference.
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