Bloomberg News

Merkel Tells Voters Germany Will Emerge Stronger From Crisis

August 30, 2011

Aug. 30 (Bloomberg) -- Chancellor Angela Merkel said that Germany will emerge stronger from the sovereign debt turmoil, as she sought to rally support for her crisis-fighting strategy ahead of elections in her home state in five days.

Merkel, in the first of five campaign appearances this week in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania before a regional vote on Sept. 4, acknowledged voter concern about the impact of the crisis on the euro, while saying that such fears are misplaced.

“Many are worried, but they don’t need to be because the currency is stable,” Merkel told a rally of her Christian Democratic Union yesterday in Schwerin, the state capital. “It’s our aim to come out of this stronger than we went into it, as we did during the banking crisis. I said that in 2009, and look at where the economy is in 2011. This can be achieved again.”

Almost two years after the debt crisis erupted in Greece, Merkel is seeking to allay coalition and voter concerns over the impact on Germany. With Berlin also holding a city vote next month, Merkel has turned her anti-crisis strategy -- including opposition to joint euro-area bonds -- into a campaign theme.

“Some people tout them as being the solution to the crisis,” Merkel said of euro bonds, citing the main opposition Social Democratic Party. “Putting the debt all in one pot,” while allowing others to live beyond their means and expect a bailout “is against all common sense.”

Polls suggest the SPD may again win the election with the CDU as its junior coalition partner in the state.

Party Conclaves

The three parties in Merkel’s national government are holding separate meetings this week to discuss their responses to the euro-area debt crisis. Merkel’s Cabinet will meet in Berlin tomorrow to back a reworked European Financial Stability Facility and a second aid package for Greece. Merkel is traveling to Slovenia, a euro member, today for talks on the crisis with Prime Minister Borut Pahor.

In a radio interview yesterday, the chancellor sought to defuse a coalition revolt over bailouts, saying that she understood lawmakers’ frustration as they prepared to debate the changes to Europe’s rescue fund and more aid for Greece.

While coalition members used weekend interviews to set out conditions for expanding the scope of the 440 billion-euro ($638 billion) EFSF, they indicated that they would probably back the bill when it goes to a vote in the lower house, or Bundestag.

The upper and lower houses are now likely to finish voting by Sept. 30, one week later than planned, to avoid clashing with a Sept. 23 visit to Berlin by Pope Benedict XVI, CDU spokesman Dominik Geissler said by telephone.

In a letter to Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble, Norbert Barthle, the budget spokesman for Merkel’s Christian Democratic bloc, and his counterpart from the CDU’s Free Democratic Party coalition partner, Otto Fricke, urged the government to “substantially improve” consultations with parliament over any planned changes to the EFSF.

Merkel said that aid will still be available for indebted euro-area countries so long as they commit to “do better in the future.”

“Whoever does that deserves our solidarity, will get our support,” Merkel said in Schwerin. “That’s the way out of this crisis. It’s a long, arduous path, but it’s the way we’ll go forward.”

--With assistance from Rainer Buergin and Tony Czuczka in Berlin. Editors: Alan Crawford, Leon Mangasarian

To contact the reporters on this story: Brian Parkin in Schwerin via bparkin@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: James Hertling at jhertling@bloomberg.net


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