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German Public Doesn't Get the Euro Zone: Ex-Irish PM

If the European Central Bank raises rates, people will wonder whether the central bank is taking the position of countryies facing debt problems into account, John Bruton, former Taoiseach (Irish Prime Minister), told CNBC Wednesday.

"Inflation is not a problem in Ireland, the problem is debt," Bruton said.

When Germany "was going through its unification, the ECB kept interest rates low, lower than Ireland needed" to help out, he said.

If it raises rates to combat inflation in countries like Germany and France, while hurting countries like Greece and Portugal, the question becomes "is the ECB representing the whole euro zone or just looking after one part of the euro zone?" Bruton said.

Those who think that it's a matter of one country in the euro zone helping out another don't realize the problem isn't country-specific, but "a European banking problem, created by European decisions," he said.

"German public opinion doesn't fully comprehend the fact that since 1990 we've had a single monetary reality," Bruton added.

Contact Europe: Economy

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