Helmut Kohl blames Merkel for ruining his Europe project

Chancellor Angela Merkel's euro woes plunged to new and uncharted depths yesterday, amid disclosures that her former mentor Helmut Kohl had accused her of "ruining" the Europe he had helped to create and of pursuing single currency policies which he called "very dangerous".

The former conservative "unification Chancellor's" acidic broadside against the woman he helped to become Germany's first female leader, was a telling indication of the extent to which his successor's popularity has nose-dived since the euro crisis began.

At home Ms Merkel is widely accused by the public and the press of squandering millions in taxpayer's money to bail out "failed" eurozone countries.

In Europe, she is under attack for failing to take a lead over the euro crisis. Within her own Christian Democratic party, she is charged with destroying the conservatives' commitment to the European ideal.

Mr Kohl's criticism appeared designed to inflict maximum damage as it came only days before Thursday's meeting of European leaders which will attempt to hammer out a deal on solving the Greek crisis. Several Christian Democrats have called for Greece's debts to be rescheduled and warned that the entire euro project is endangered.

According to Der Spiegel magazine, Mr Kohl made his critical comments to an unidentified political colleague, who had been visiting him. "She is ruining my Europe," Mr Kohl was quoted as saying about his protégée.

Ms Merkel's ruling conservative-liberal coalition lags ten points behind the Greens and Social Democrats in opinion polls.