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Merkel under fire over eurobond stance

Dec 04 2011 15:26 Sapa-AFP

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Berlin - German Chancellor Angela Merkel's uncompromising stance on Europe's financial crisis faced mounting criticism Saturday as senior political figures urged her to reconsider her rejection of eurobonds.

"One cannot categorically rule out resorting to eurobonds. They could become vital," European Energy Commissioner Guenther Oettinger said in an interview with Die Welt.

In an article entitled "How much longer will Merkel resist the pressure?" the newspaper said Oettinger, who belongs to Merkel's party, was expressing an opinion shared by most in the eurozone.

Merkel has adopted a hard line against the introduction of eurobonds, arguing that Germany -- Europe's largest economy and the state with the lowest borrowing costs -- would pick up the tab if eurozone debt were pooled.

At an economic forum in Hamburg on Friday, former chancellor Helmut Schmidt argued that Merkel's inflexible attitude was a threat to the country.

"With her policies, Merkel has isolated Germany in Europe," said the 92-year-old Schmidt, a respected statesman and fervent pro-European. "It never ends well when Germany is isolated in Europe."

Merkel, whose stance since the start of the crisis has earned her the nickname of "iron chancellor", is due to meet French President Nicolas Sarkozy on Monday.

European leaders will then meet in Brussels on Thursday and Friday in in their latest effort to solve a debt crisis that has pushed several members to the brink of bankruptcy, kept world markets on edge and rattled the foundations of the union.

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