Italy, Germany spar over euro, EU debt

Aug. 6, 2012 at 12:06 PM
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ROME, Aug. 6 (UPI) -- German and Italian leaders squared off Monday on the role a country's lawmakers should play in European Union negotiations and the fate of the euro.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel defended Germany's parliament Monday after Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti said leaders should not let themselves be constrained by their parliaments when negotiating about the European Union, ANSA reported.

The German government and Germany's national bank have blocked several possible measures that would ease the financial crises swamping Europe, such as the issuance of eurobonds to share the debt burden and the possibility of giving a banking license to the soon-to-be-launched European Stability Mechanism, an international organization that would provide financial assistance to members of the eurozone in financial difficulty.

Merkel has argued the only path to restore long-term confidence in the euro is for eurozone countries to practice budget discipline and concede sovereignty to achieve greater fiscal integration.

"The chancellor's opinion is that we in Germany have always done well with the right balance between parliamentary support and the participation of parliament," Merkel spokesman Georg Streiter told Germany's news agency.

In an interview published on Sunday by German weekly Der Spiegel, Monti said, "If governments let themselves be bound completely by the decisions of their parliaments, without maintaining their own scope for negotiation, Europe is more likely to break up than it is to see closer integration."

German leaders of various political stripe said parliamentary checks on EU policy were beyond debate.

"Acceptance of the euro and saving it is reinforced by national parliaments, not weakened by it," said Joachim Poss, a member of the opposition Social Democratic Party.

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