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Juncker criticizes German slowness over debt crisis

Published on 23/10/2011

Eurogroup chief Jean-Claude Juncker criticized Germany's slowness in reacting to the eurozone debt crisis, in an interview published Sunday.

“Organisational speed in Berlin is slower than in the other capitals,” Juncker, who is Luxembourg premier said in an interview with the online edition of Der Spiegel.

He referred to a Constitutional Court ruling in September requiring parliament’s budgetary committee to approve any financial proposals on the eurozone bailout fund.

“The Bundestag (lower house of parliament) cannot decide everything in detail in advance because sometimes at summits things are negotiated to the very end,” he said.

Although he said he understood parliament wanting to keep hold of the reins on budgetary issues, he said “but that must not lead to the EU not being able to react with the necessary speed.”

European leaders were holding key talks in Brussels Sunday aimed at solving the eurozone debt crisis, keenly watched around the world as concerns grow that it could spark a global recession.

Juncker, who heads the 17-nation eurogroup of finance ministers, complained on arrival Friday in Brussels that EU leaders wrestling with deep divisions on how to battle the crisis were sending out “disastrous” signals.

“The external impact is disastrous” for Europe, he said, adding: “We are not really showing a properly functioning leadership.”

German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s spokesman said Friday that a second EU summit on the crisis had been called for October 26 because of the need to involve the German government.

Parliament’s budgetary committee “has not had the time to study everything in detail”, Steffen Seibert told a regular news conference.

If Merkel had left for the summit without the committee’s backing, “she would not have had a mandate” to sign any European deal, he added.