Merkel to cut short stay at EU-LatAm summit: Germany

17th May 2010, Comments 0 comments

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has cut short her scheduled stay at an EU-Latin America summit in order to assure passage of a plan to shore up ailing eurozone economies, a spokesman said Monday.

Deputy government spokesman Christoph Steegmans said Merkel would only join around 60 leaders from across Latin America and the 27-nation EU at an opening dinner in Madrid Monday but would be replaced for the rest of the summit by a state secretary from the foreign ministry.

Merkel is to meet with parliamentary deputies Tuesday on approving German participation in 750 billion euros (925 billion dollars) in loan guarantees for debt-wracked countries that was agreed in Brussels this month.

Berlin has pledged to make available up to 150 billion euros for the fund but the Bundestag lower house of parliament must approve the move.

Merkel is to address the chamber Wednesday amid grumbling that the EU plan does little to tackle the underlying causes of eurozone instability.

The EU-Latin America summit meetings running Monday until Wednesday and hosted by current EU president Spain will cover issues including quake-ravaged Haiti, the international financial crisis and "global challenges" such as climate change.

© 2010 AFP

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