Merkel: $1 trillion rescue package only buys time

May 17, 2010 05:07

The €750 billion ($1 trillion) shock-and-awe rescue package to prevent the Greek debt crisis from spreading only bought eurozone countries more time, it didn’t solve their underlying debt problems, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and a European Central Bank official said Sunday.

By JUERGEN BAETZ AP via The Daily Caller

Market turmoil over rising levels of European government debt — sparked by Greece’s immediate crisis — will only calm down if the 16 nations who share the euro currency reform their economies and reduce their deficits, the German leader and ECB chief economist Juergen Stark said in different forums.

“We bought time, not more than that,” Stark was quoted as saying in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung paper, adding the euro was not in danger “but in a critical situation.”

Merkel on Sunday defended the loan package as the right step to stabilize the currency, but also acknowledged it was a stopgap measure.

“We didn’t do more than buy time to get the differences in competitiveness and budget deficits of eurozone countries in order,” she told a conference of the Confederation of German Trade Unions in Berlin.

The euro has come under intense market pressure because of fears about Greek debt problems spreading to other heavily indebted eurozone countries. It sank to near a four-year low against the dollar Friday in New York, buying $1.2355.

The speculation against the euro was only possible because of the differing economic strength and debt levels of the eurozone countries, Merkel said. “If you just ignore this problem, you won’t get things to calm down.”

Merkel also told union members that budget cuts in Germany are inevitable, calling the country’s own current debt level unsustainable.


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