Monday 20 November 2017

Merkel urges euro nations to stick with tight budget plans

Angela Merkel
Angela Merkel

Patrick Donahue

GERMAN Chancellor Angela Merkel said euro nations must follow Germany's lead in tightening budgets and reshaping labour markets to return to growth, as she seeks to stave off any crisis eruptions before elections in September.

As European leaders struggle to tackle recession and unemployment, Ms Merkel lauded Germany's efforts to keep its economy stable through the crisis and said the euro area's 17 member states must stick to a recipe of budget discipline and improving competitiveness so that growth could take hold.

"It's greatly in Germany's interest to do everything so that structural reforms and budget discipline can take place in other countries," Ms Merkel said in her weekly podcast yesterday.

Even as French President Francois Hollande restated his declaration that the three-year-old crisis is over, a looming risk of Greek debt writedowns and a scourge of joblessness among Europe's youth could compound the turmoil as EU leaders prepare for a June 27 summit.

Mr Hollande, on a two-day trip to Japan, reiterated that the acute phase of the crisis was over and that euro leaders' primary task consisted of growth and employment.

"Europe has become more stable, but it must now be more oriented toward growth," Mr Hollande told a conference last Saturday in Tokyo.

"What's important for you here in Japan is to fully understand that the crisis of the eurozone is over."

Meanwhile, finance and job ministers from Spain, Germany, Italy and France are scheduled to meet on June 14 in Rome to address the 24pc youth unemployment rate.

Ms Merkel and Mr Hollande met at the end of last month to discuss the issue, announcing an initial €6bn to fight joblessness. (Bloomberg)

Irish Independent

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