CORRECTED: EU leaders must not dictate to ECB, says Merkel

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European Union governments must not be allowed, at Wednesday's summit, to decide European Central Bank action, German Chancellor Angela Merkel told a news conference on Tuesday.

"We must not allow a misunderstanding, whereby politicians expect something from the ECB," Merkel said referring to the role the central bank might play in helping deal with the eurozone debt crisis.

"We are negotiating with a view to have the ECB put forward its own point of view" on how it wants to help deal with the crisis, she said.

A statement currently being discussed refers to demands by EU leaders that the ECB maintain support measures for banks and indebted eurozone governments.

"Germany does not accept such a sentence in the communique," Merkel told reporters following a meeting with Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina Wajed.

The proposed EU statement says: "We fully support the ECB in its action to ensure price stability in the euro area, including its nonstandard measures in the current exceptional financial market environment."

The ECB has now bought a total 169.5 billion euros in eurozone government bonds since it first began such operations early last year as part of efforts to ease debt strains in the 17-nation bloc.

© 2011 AFP

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