Germany rejected proposals to combine the current and permanent euro-area rescue funds as Chancellor Angela Merkel's government said divisions may prevent agreement on a debt-crisis strategy among all 27 European Union states this week.

Germany will oppose any attempt to change an agreed sequence, in which the permanent European Stability Mechanism will take over from the current rescue fund at an appointed time, a German official told reporters in Berlin today on condition of anonymity because the negotiations are private.

The rejection came amid divisions among the 27 European Union member states on the latest bid to deliver the euro area from its two-year-old crisis as the leaders head to a Dec. 8-9 summit in Brussels. A German-French push for closer economic ties won the backing of U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner, who on a visit to Europe urged governments to work with central banks to erect a "stronger firewall" to end the debt crisis.

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