Merkel 'is EU's big weakness'
Bank boss says German chancellor is holding back Europe's economy with her lack of vision
Sunday 01 September 2013
The head of one of Europe's fastest-growing banks has launched a damning attack on Angela Merkel ahead of the German elections later this month.
Lars Seier Christensen, the chief executive of Saxo Bank, which provides Barclays with white-label products in the UK, described Germany's chancellor as "Europe's Achilles' heel".
He warned that her lack of vision was damaging the continent's economy.
"Ms Merkel has said 'nein' to centralised European Union economic governance, 'nein' to a permanent bailout mechanism and 'nein' to the idea of eurobonds, which she called 'economically wrong and counterproductive'," he said.
"She is a problem solver and there's nothing wrong with solving concrete problems.
"However, politics is also about declaring new ideas and visions. It's about setting an agenda instead of following a popular sentiment. Ms Merkel has yet to do that."
Saxo bank, headquartered in Denmark, has offices in 25 countries including the UK and Germany.
Mr Christensen is an outspoken critic of the EU and this year warned a eurozone break-up was inevitable as Brussels claimed even more power and used it "ever more poorly".
On Ms Merkel, he said: "Germans are in no mood for change. The polls show Ms Merkel is likely to win. She will then stay the de facto leader of the EU and its future and – disaster – currency will be determined by this former research chemist.
"As I see it, the research is done. The verdict is out. We have to re-evaluate the EU."
Voters across Europe's largest economy will go to the polls on September 22 when the incumbent German chancellor is widely expected to be re-elected for a third successive term.
Unlike Mr Christensen, most commentators in the City believe a victory for Ms Merkel is vital for Europe's economic recovery.
Mike Jennings, the chief investment officer at Premier Asset Management, said: "Despite Ms Merkel's commanding lead in the latest German opinion polls, to assume a smooth return to power in next month's election is a dangerous stance to take.
"If there is not a smooth return to power, European markets could unexpectedly dip."
Culinary experts in The Netherlands thought it was 'fresh' and 'tasty'
- 1 Nokia no more: Microsoft drops once-ubiquitous mobile name – in favour of its Lumia brand
- 2 Renee Zellweger on plastic surgery: 'I'm living a more fulfilling life and I'm thrilled that perhaps it shows'
- 3 Jimmy Carr's controversial Oscar Pistorius joke goes too far at the Q Awards
- 4 Australian café owner sparks debate after saying 'No' to having unruly children on premises
- 5 NHS staff banned from drinking tea or coffee on the job because it looks like they're not working hard enough
Renee Zellweger on plastic surgery: 'I'm living a more fulfilling life and I'm thrilled that perhaps it shows'
Isis releases first video showing the stoning of woman accused of committing adultery as her father shouts 'don't call me Dad'
Diwali: What is the festival of lights – and how is it celebrated around the world?
Nathan Cirillo: Final pictures emerge of soldier moments before he was shot dead by Ottowa gunman
Ottawa shootings: Terror strikes Canadian capital as attacks leave one soldier and one suspect dead
Cameron is warned 'no possibility' of UK reducing immigration and that bid to bring in quota on migrant workers would be illegal
Of course, teenage girls need role models – but not like beauty vlogger Zoella
Support for EU membership 'at highest level since 1991' with most Brits wanting to stay 'in'
Residents should throw a street party and mix with immigrant neighbours, councils told
Russell Brand threatened with arrest after filming outside Fox News headquarters
Thousands with degenerative conditions classified as 'fit to work in future' – despite no possibility of improvement
iJobs Money & Business
£350 - £360 per day: Ashdown Group: SQL Developer with T-SQL, Watford, Hertfor...
120-150k: Accountancy Action: We are looking for an experienced CFO from a min...
£24000 - £28000 per annum + bonus & benefits: Ashdown Group: IT Business Syste...
£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: The SThree group is a world le...