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German Chancellor Angela Merkel won’t budge from her insistence on budget austerity in Europe as unavoidable to resolving the debt crisis, a senior lawmaker in her party said.
“The chancellor is pretty resistant to pressure,” Peter Altmaier, the chief whip of Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union, said in an interview today in Berlin. France’s presidential vote and the Dutch government’s fall don’t change the fact “there’s no money in Europe, only deficits everywhere you look.”
Socialist challenger Francois Hollande, who leads President Nicolas Sarkozy in polls for France’s runoff election on May 6, said yesterday that austerity measures across Europe are leading to “desperation” and that he will refocus the euro area’s second-biggest economy on growth.
Altmaier warned that Hollande risked alienating investors if he were to divert from the course of austerity.
“If Mr. Hollande were to say that he wants to increase government spending and save less, he’ll lose the confidence of the financial markets,” Altmaier said. “The same financial markets that say they’re concerned about austerity will say, ‘My God, this is not serious,’ if Hollande stops austerity and does deficit spending.”
Merkel will await the election outcome in France and then “try to come to an understanding with the new government, regardless of who leads it,” Altmaier said. “We will stick to our fundamental principles because there’s really no alternative.’”
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