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Merkel Resists Sarkozy Ideas on ECB: Report

Reuters
Sunday, 8 Jul 2007 | 10:09 AM ET

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has made it clear to French President Nicolas Sarkozy that Germany will firmly resist any efforts to impinge upon the European Central Bank's independence, Der Spiegel news magazine reported on Sunday.

"Merkel let Sarkozy know that he was of course free to explain his ideas," the magazine wrote, citing a source at Merkel's office. "But if he should seriously attack the ECB's independence or the aim of price stability, then he better brace for strong German resistance," the magazine continued.

Sarkozy will present his economic reform and budget strategy to European finance ministers on Monday. He has said he believes the euro zone is the only region of the world to be handicapped with a currency that hampers growth and job creation.

The euro is near record highs against the dollar and yen, and Sarkozy has urged euro zone finance ministers to get more involved in currency policy, an area of responsibility shared with the ECB.

Merkel has repeatedly said the ECB's independence must be safeguarded.

A German government spokesman could not be reached for comment on the report.

But an unidentified senior German government official was quoted in Der Spiegel as saying no other euro zone country backed his ideas.

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