Thursday, 8 December 2011

Merkel Ally Says ‘No Plan B’ in Resolving Euro Debt Crisis

A leader of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s party said there’s “no plan B” in negotiations to save the euro and warned that failure of a European Union summit beginning later today could damage the global economy.

Peter Altmaier, chief whip for Merkel’s Christian Democratic bloc in Germany’s parliament, said Europeans “can’t afford” a failure at the Brussels summit. He said the German delegation is willing to extend the two-day meeting to push through treaty changes designed to tighten budgets and tie European countries closer together.

“If this summit would fail, it could have serious consequences for the world economy,” Altmaier said today in a Bloomberg Television interview in Berlin. “As long as there is a realistic chance to implement plan A, we may not admit failure as long as we have a chance to succeed.”

Calling the summit the EU’s most important in 20 years, Altmaier said the best outcome would be an agreement among all 27 members to change treaties and lock in stricter fiscal rules. Should non-euro states such as the U.K. resist such a scenario, the 17 countries that share the euro would attempt to reach consensus on the issue, he said.

Negotiating teams are “fighting and arguing” about how to come to an agreement and the British government has presented a “shopping list” of concessions benefiting London before it would agree to such proposals, Altmaier said.


‘Do Her Utmost’

Merkel will “do her utmost” to force through budget rules, automatic sanctions against deficit violators and enhanced power for the European Commission, Altmaier said. He urged countries to set aside their own agendas and embrace a more unified Europe.

“If this summit would fail because some nations would insist on some specific interest instead of uniting Europe and instead of contributing to a consensus, then it would have harmful consequences not just for the EU but for the entire world,” Altmaier said.

The CDU lawmaker also called for a greater role for the International Monetary Fund in helping resolve the crisis.

Euro-area leaders may agree to provide 150 billion euros ($201 billion) in loans via the IMF in the expectation of a pledge by non-euro EU countries to chip in another 50 billion euros, an EU diplomat told reporters in Brussels today. Under the proposal, national central banks would recycle funds through the IMF, two people familiar with the negotiations said last week.

“It seems to be a reasonable solution to take on board as much capital from countries around the world as possible,” Altmaier said. He reiterated Germany’s rejection of the European Central Bank as a lender of last resort.

To contact the reporter on this story: Francine Lacqua in London at at
Patrick Donahue in Berlin at at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: James Hertling at