Merkel sees 'fruitful, contentious' G20 deficits debate

24th June 2010, Comments 0 comments

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Thursday she expected "fruitful" but "contentious" discussions on deficits at this week's G8 and G20 summits following criticism of Berlin over its austerity cuts.

"We, as Europeans, and in particular Germany, are of the opinion that reducing deficits is essential ... for achieving sustainable growth that we all want," Merkel told reporters in Berlin.

"I think that there will be very fruitful, but also very contentious, debates on this issue," she said.

Ahead of the G8 and G20 meetings in Canada beginning Friday, US President Barack Obama wrote a letter to fellow world leaders that was widely seen in Germany as a swipe at Merkel's aim to slash spending in Europe's top economy.

Critics have said that the more than 80 billion euros (98 billion dollars) in savings announced by Merkel over the next four years, mirroring similar efforts in other European countries like Britain, will hit growth.

But Merkel has insisted that deficits must be cut in the wake of the eurozone debt crisis that forced Berlin to provide the lion's share to a rescue mechanism in the face of fierce voters opposition and falling poll ratings.

© 2010 AFP

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