Prodi attacks 'disappointing' Merkel

5th December 2011, Comments 0 comments

Former Italian premier and European Commission ex-president Romano Prodi criticised German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Monday, saying her decisions in the eurozone crisis have been too little, too late.

"I have been disappointed. She has made mistakes. Her decisions came too late, and they were insufficient," Prodi told Austrian daily Kurier in an interview published in German, during a visit to Vienna.

He also hit out at Germany for exporting far more than it imports, telling the Standard daily in a separate interview that this "shows that Germany hasn't exactly taken on a stimulating role for other countries."

He added: "Mrs Merkel knows very well that Germany has profited the most from the introduction of the euro. Germany has never been stronger than it is today, everybody knows this.

"What I accuse Berlin of is that leadership like this comes with responsibility. Instead Germany is acting very laboriously and very slowly, as was made very clear in the case of Greece."

Prodi, twice Italian prime minister, most recently before losing power to Silvio Berlusconi in 2008, also said he was in favour of eurobonds and that he believes the 17-nation eurozone will have between 20 and 22 members by 2020.

On Italy he said that since the departure of Berlusconi as prime minister last month it was no longer "humiliating" to travel abroad, telling the Standard that the country had regained its "dignity and style."

He said: "The difficulties facing the new government should not be underestimated at all ... (new Prime Minister Mario) Monti will have to tackle all the problems at once, not only the short-term ones but also the long-term ones."

He also said: "The previous government under Silvio Berlusconi made the economic situation (of Italy) even worse by simply not implementing the necessary reforms ... Any other captain is better to steer our ship through the storm."

© 2011 AFP

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