Germany says renegotiating EU pact ‘not possible’ after French election
The German government on Monday ruled out reworking the European Union’s fiscal pact despite calls to do so by French president-elect Francois Hollande.
“It is not possible to renegotiate the fiscal pact,” government spokesman Steffen Seibert told a regular news conference.
He noted that 25 of the 27 EU member states had already signed the accord imposing strict budgetary discipline in March after major wrangling.
Hollande has called for a shift in strategy toward more growth-oriented measures including more public spending.
But Seibert said Merkel would not accept “deficit spending” to feed economic expansion, and believed in “growth through structural reforms” such as reducing the cost of job creation as pursued by Germany over the last decade.
Yet he dismissed suggestions that the apparently conflicting policies would put Merkel on a collision course with Germany’s closest ally, insisting she was ready for an open dialogue.
“We will see what proposals and ideas he has and go from there,” Seibert said, referring to Hollande.
He noted that Merkel was also a firm believer in promoting growth as a path out of the debt crisis.
“Growth is not a new issue but rather the second pillar of our fiscal policy, and not just since yesterday,” he said.
Seibert said he did not intend to draw red lines before Hollande’s first visit to Berlin, expected imminently after he assumes power from President Nicolas Sarkozy, a close Merkel ally, on May 15.
“I would find it quite inappropriate for a government spokesman to already say what will work and what won’t,” he said, referring to Merkel and Hollande’s first meeting.