Merkel meets with union leaders over debt crisis
BERLIN | German Chancellor Angela Merkel met with union leaders from across Europe on Thursday to discuss the eurozone debt crisis — a meeting they said was a welcome gesture but underlined differences over the austerity policies Mrs. Merkel has favored.
Germany, Europe’s biggest economy, has stressed that its partners in the eurozone must get their public finances in order and has championed labor market reforms. That approach has led to big spending cuts in struggling countries and has been met by strikes.
“It was important that these talks took place at all,” Michael Sommer, Germany’s top union official, told reporters after the meeting. “From my point of view, it was a necessary piece of confidence-building, and more must follow.”
He said that “nothing went unsaid” and the two sides agreed that more needs to be done to use existing European Union funds to help revive struggling countries.