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Germany rebukes European Commission's bank reform proposal

July 11, 2013

Many prominent countries in the European Union have experienced serious economic difficulties in the past few years, and Germany is chief among them. Youth unemployment is one of its major problems, and the various austerity measures imposed by Chancellor Angela Merkel have been met with scorn by many German citizens. However, the nation is nonetheless the eurozone's largest economy, and as such has considerable influence.

According to The Wall Street Journal, Germany recently answered a proposal announced by the European Commission on July 10 - which would have created a single governing body to oversee various banking reforms - with a resounding refusal. The nation's decision may be the subject of concerned phone conversations among economists and officials in various countries, conducted using international calling cards.

The news source reported that German federal spokesperson Steffen Seibert explained his government's decision at a recent press conference. "In our view, the commission proposal oversteps its authorities," Seibert said. "That's why in our view it isn't something that can bring about great credibility." This echoes previous actions by Germany, in which the nation has been opposed to ideas that involve an EU authority or agency managing the financial affairs of multiple countries.

The New York Times explains that the latest proposal would allow the European Central Bank to monitor eurozone banks and identify institutions experiencing catastrophic difficulties. Such banks would then be shuttered, diminished or otherwise restructured to minimize financial burdens on taxpayers and place that weight on the shoulders of banking officials and creditors. Germany appears to be worried that it would end up carrying an inordinate amount of the financial responsibility under such a system. 

Mujtaba Rahman, Europe director at the Eurasia Group, told the news source that if the European Commission's proposal did not pass, "the problematic link between banks and sovereigns will have actually been reinforced, not weakened."

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