Merkel holds anti-crisis summit

15th December 2008, Comments 0 comments

German economic experts and officials have said her 31 billion euro economic stimulus is not enough.

Berlin -- German Chancellor Angela Merkel, under fire over her reaction to the financial crisis, called together business leaders, ministers and experts on Sunday to discuss ways of escaping the international recession.

"No concrete measure was decided," Economy Minister Michael Glos said after the six-hour meeting finished.

The goal of the meeting had been to reflect on possible measures, he added, with the government aiming to decide on specific actions by the end of January.

Finance Minister Peer Steinbrueck said everything would be done to avoid job losses.

The time had come for "us to take joint responsibility, as the government cannot handle the economic situation alone," Merkel told a press conference before the meeting.

Merkel has made defending German jobs a top priority but increasing numbers have been lost in Europe's biggest economy in recent weeks.

The criticism of the government has particularly hurt as Merkel's Christian Democrats (CDU) prepare for a legislative election in 2009. The CDU is in a coalition with the Social Democrats (SPD).

German economic experts and officials have said her 31 billion euro (40 billion dollar) economic stimulus is not enough.

Other European Union members have also pressured for Merkel to spend more.

Quoting government sources, the weekly Wirtschaftswoche reported the government is preparing a second 30-billion-euro economic plan that will include investment and fiscal incentives.

The package is not expected to be announced until the end of January, giving Merkel time to prepare an anti-crisis strategy within the government, the weekly said.

Merkel is to meet state and local government leaders this week.

Der Spiegel magazine said in its latest edition that the government now expects the economy to shrink by two percent in 2009. The official government forecast is for a fall of up to one percent.


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