Merkel blocks quick deal on debt crisis

 

Angela Merkel signalled her intention yesterday to put German domestic opinion ahead of diplomatic niceties as European leaders began five days of intense wrangling over an attempt to resolve the eurozone debt crisis. At Germany's insistence, tomorrow's gathering in Brussels will be a mere warm-up for a more important summit next Wednesday.

The German Chancellor tried to play down the disruption caused by her decision to push back the timetable. "Thoroughness has to take precedence over speed in combating the euro crisis," she told a meeting of her ruling coalition in Berlin.

But the move reflects her determination to get full political support at home before signing up to any further eurozone rescue measures.

The move also sent a clear message to eurozone leaders who have been pushing for a more extensive bailout package: Ms Merkel will not agree to anything that German parliamentarians, and by extension the German people, are not prepared to sanction.

The German Finance Minister, Wolfgang Schäuble, insisted at the same meeting of MPs yesterday that Germany would not agree to the French government's favoured plan to use the European Central Bank to "leverage" the European bailout fund.

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