Belgian minister scolds Germany over euro debt crisis

31st August 2011, Comments 0 comments

A Belgian minister lambasted Germany's handling of the eurozone debt crisis, accusing Berlin of lacking solidarity while telling, along with its ally Paris, other Europeans what to do.

Olivier Chastel, European affairs minister, told Le Soir newspaper in an interview published Wednesday that Germany should drop its objection to the creation of a joint bond for the eurozone.

"The advantages Germany gets from the single market should be compensated with Germany's acceptance of eurobonds," Chastel said, referring to the idea of pooling risk to help weaker nations get affordable borrowing rates.

Some eurozone governments argue that creating a single bond is the antidote to resolve the 17-nation bloc's debt crisis.

But Germany, which enjoys the lowest interest rates in the eurozone thanks to the investor confidence it enjoys on the bond market, says a joint bond would encourage deficit-prone governments to forgo tough budget cuts.

"The fact that some member states want to keep power over economic and financial issues is blocking the solution to the crisis," Chastel said.

The Belgian minister accused German Chancellor Angela Merkel of being beholden to electoral politics.

"Politicians are more sensitive to what their internal public opinion will think rather than the need to find a real solution to this crisis," he said.

Chastel also complained about that France and Germany were in the driver's seat in the eurozone.

"Europe now only takes decisions after a Franco-German meeting. It's difficult to live with this," he said.

© 2011 AFP

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