Tags: Germany | Merkel | Strengthen | Euro

Germany's Merkel: 'We Must Strengthen the Euro'

Friday, 31 Dec 2010 06:35 AM

Chancellor Angela Merkel will stress Germany's commitment to the euro in her New Year message to the country on Friday.

"Europe stands, in these months, in the middle of a great test. We must strengthen the euro. It's not just about our money. The euro is far more than a currency," Merkel will tell the country, according to a text released in advance.

"The euro is the foundation of our prosperity. Germany needs Europe and our common currency. For our own well-being and in order to overcome great worldwide challenges. We Germans assume our responsibility, even when it is sometimes very hard."

The chancellor has come under fire in other parts of Europe for her stance on the sovereign debt crisis that has led to emergency rescues of Greece and Ireland. Critics accused her of stoking market panic by demanding that investors accept losses on government debt in the event of a country defaulting.

Some commentators have speculated Germany may eventually lose patience with bailing out more profligate members of the eurozone, leading to a break-up of the currency bloc.

Although the weaker euro has been a blessing for Germany's exporters, a poll this week by leading tabloid Bild showed every other German wanted the deutschemark back, a symbol that stood like no other for the post-war "economic miracle."

Bundesbank figures from this month show Germans continue to hoard old notes and coins worth some 6.9 billion euros ($9.1 billion), even though they can be exchanged at no cost in any of the central bank's 47 branches across the country.

According to a survey conducted by state-owned television station ZDF and published on Dec. 17, only one-third of Germans are in favor of providing greater financial support to indebted eurozone countries.

© 2015 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.

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