Merkel says eurobonds are 'the wrong answer'


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The Independent Online

Germany renewed its opposition to growing calls for a move towards bonds that are jointly issued by eurozone members yesterday. The German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, said that so-called eurobonds were "exactly the wrong answer" to the currency union's sovereign debt crisis.

The rejection follows a fortnight of turmoil on world markets, with investors increasingly anxious about what they see as a lack of political will to solve the issue of eurozone debt.

Wall Street investment bank Morgan Stanley last week also highlighted Europe's "slow and insufficient response to the sovereign crisis" as one of the reasons for a downgrade of its economic-growth forecasts. But Ms Merkel rebuffed the clamour for eurobonds as a solution to the problem.

"They lead us to a debt union and not a stability union," she said yesterday, adding that Europe needed to move towards more economic co-operation.

"The eurozone has to work even more closely together but we also have to work together closely within the Europe of 27," she said.

"Our currency is not substantiated by a political union. Now the task is to make the euro strong through more economic co-operation and, especially, more commitment."

Earlier, her finance minister, Wolfgang Schäuble, had also opposed the idea. Speaking at his ministry's open day on Saturday, he said: "As long as we don't collectivise financial policy, we also cannot have a uniform interest rate level. "

Ms Merkel's resistance echoed her stance during talks she held last week with the the French President, Nicolas Sarkozy.

On the other side of the divide, the Belgian finance minister, Didier Reynders, has backed the call for eurobonds, an idea also supported by his Italian counterpart, Giulio Tremonti.

In addition to its concerns about an implied loss of sovereignty, Germany is opposed to the bonds because it fears they would bring about higher interest rates, even if common debt offered respite to the debt-laden states in southern Europe.