Merkel's enemies call for halt to Germany bashing

PARIS (AFP) - Two of Chancellor Angela Merkel's most prominent opponents have urged France's ruling Socialists to call a halt to the "German bashing" that has soured the two countries' partnership.

Ties between the nations, whose post-war reconciliation has driven European integration, sunk to a new low this weekend after France's Socialists accused Ms Merkel of "selfish intransigence" in her response to the eurozone debt crisis, in a leaked party document.

Euro MP Daniel Cohn-Bendit, a German Green and fervent critic of Ms Merkel, said the Socialists were making the Chancellor a scapegoat for their own failure to win the debate in Europe over the balance between austerity and measures to promote growth.

"Instead of pointing the finger at Mrs Merkel and ascribing her powers that she doesn't have, the French Socialists should look to their own failures to create a European project and find allies to support it," Mr Cohn-Bendit told Europe 1 radio.

"They've tried to absolve themselves with Merkel bashing and Germany bashing. That's not going to change policy at the European level. The whole Socialists' approach has been bad."

Germany's Martin Schulz, the Social Democrat President of the European Parliament, echoed Mr Cohn-Bendit's remarks following a long meeting with French President Francois Hollande on Tuesday evening.

"Blaming Angela Merkel for all the problems of Europe, I find that unfair.

Around the table in Brussels, there are 26 other leaders, not just Angela Merkel.

"It is well known that I'm a Social Democrat, so I'm no supporter of Merkel, but she can't be held responsible for everything that goes wrong in Europe."

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