The Straits Times
Published on Sep 17, 2012

Merkel defends role in euro crisis against citizens' ire


BERLIN (AFP) - German Chancellor Angela Merkel defended her role in the euro zone crisis on Monday against angry citizens of debt-mired nations, saying her tough austerity course was the only way to win back trust.

Dr Merkel told a news conference on her domestic and foreign policy that she was aware of the ire directed at her over the euro turmoil, with protesters in ailing countries shouting her name and newspapers likening her to Hitler. But she insisted that although Germany had an outsized role to play as Europe's biggest economy, crisis-fighting was a collaborative effort among leaders who had the single currency's best interest at heart.

"In my travels I have often been asked how do you deal with negative feelings because some people think that I am more responsible than others for decisions we've made together," she said. "In Greece, some people tend to forget that I didn't think up these programmes but rather that they're all from the ECB, the European Commission and the IMF (International Monetary Fund)," she said, referring to the troika of international creditors.

"I didn't invent them, I couldn't just think up such economic programmes even if I wanted to," she said.