Merkel Backs ECB on Aid Conditions

German chancellor cites commitment to doing everything possible to maintain common currency.

Chancellor Angela Merkel backed the European Central Bank’s insistence on conditions for helping reduce borrowing costs in indebted countries, saying Germany is “in line” with the ECB’s approach to defending the euro.

“Obviously time is pressing” on stamping out the debt crisis, though “on many of these issues we feel we’re on the right track,” Merkel told reporters in Ottawa yesterday at a joint press conference with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper. Euro-area policy makers “feel committed to do everything we can to maintain the common currency.”

Hollande, Samaras

Merkel steps up her crisis-fighting diplomacy next week, when she is due to host French President Francois Hollande Aug. 23, Paris-based Agence France-Presse reported, one day before Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras visits Berlin for talks. Italian media reported that Prime Minister Mario Monti is due in the German capital on Aug. 29, while Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has said that Merkel will visit Madrid on Sept. 6.

‘European Friends’

“We have great confidence in our European friends,” Harper said. “My experience has been the vast number of them are seized with the scale of the challenge and with the range of options that have to be considered.”

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