Italy’s outstanding debt at 120 percent of gross domestic product can’t be blamed on speculators, Merkel told a group of women in her Christian Democratic Union today. Markets demand higher interest rates on Italian bonds because the level of such debt is “seen very critically,” she said.
“We want to and we must defend the euro — and we will — but not to the extent that we forget what the source of the crisis is,” Merkel said in a speech in the western German city of Wiesbaden before heading to Brussels to tackle the crisis.
European leaders are converging on the Belgian capital in an attempt to narrow differences on how to address the crisis that threatens to spiral out of control. Merkel’s swipe at Prime MinisterSilvio Berlusconi’s government also comes a month after the Italian leader was caught on a wiretap making denigrating comments about the chancellor.
Merkel and Berlusconi may meet in Brussels at a gathering of leaders aligned with the EuropeanPeople’s Party before heads of state and government gather tomorrow.
Even as President Barack Obama calls on European leaders to lay aside their differences, Merkel took the U.S. government to task for failing to manage its own debt.