High-level divisions over the handling of the eurozone crisis burst into the open yesterday when Germany’s finance minister rebuked the head of the International Monetary Fund for warning European leaders to ease their demands for ever-tighter austerity in troubled peripheral economies.
围绕欧元区危机应对战略的高层分歧昨日公开化。国际货币基金组织(IMF)总裁克里斯蒂娜•拉加德(Christine Lagarde)告诫欧洲国家领导人称，应放松对身处困境的外围经济体持续加大紧缩力度的要求，此言引发了德国财长沃尔夫冈•朔伊布勒(Wolfgang Schäuble)的指责。
Wolfgang Schäuble said that Christine Lagarde had appeared to contradict the IMF’s own stance in advocating an easing of austerity, noting that the fund had “time and again” warned that high debt levels threatened economic growth.
“When there is a certain medium-term goal, it doesn’t build confidence when one starts by going in a different direction,” Mr Schäuble said. “When you want to climb a big mountain and you start climbing down the mountain, then the mountain will get even higher.”
He was speaking on the sidelines of a meeting of finance ministers and central bankers in Tokyo just after Ms Lagarde, the IMF managing director, backed a study finding that Brussels and the IMF had underestimated the impact of austerity measures on growth during the eurozone crisis.
Ms Lagarde said eurozone countries should not stick blindly to tough deficit targets if growth weakens more than expected. They should allow “automatic stabilisers” – higher welfare spending and lower tax revenues – to kick in if the economy deteriorated.
The IMF’s warnings against an over-reliance on austerity came as Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, held out the prospect of government action to stimulate domestic demand. She was determined to revive Germany’s flagging growth, not least because of the country’s role “to do something for the stimulation of the economy in Europe”.