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Germany to U.S.: Mind your business

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BOB MOON: Germany’s leader, Angela Merkel, is headed home to Berlin today after her meeting at the White House. And she’s returning with a clear, direct message from President Obama. He said the Germans need to take the lead in handling Europe’s debt crisis. But that message is not going down too well back in Germany.

From the European Desk in London, Marketplace’s Stephen Beard reports.


STEPHEN BEARD: President Obama is clearly worried that the debt crisis could spiral out of control sending shockwaves across to the U.S. economy. At a joint news conference with the German leader in Washington, Obama said Germany must take the lead in tackling the crisis.

Stefan Schneider is Chief International Economist at Deutsche Bank in Frankfurt. He says Obama’s remarks might imply Germany has dithered over the crisis and that’s unfair:

STEFAN SCHNEIDER: There is no easy solution. Sorry it’s a very complicated issue and there is no quick fix.

He says there are seventeen different European countries involved and the independent European Central Bank so taking a lead isn’t easy. And he says it’s a bit rich for the U.S. to be offering advice on debt management.

SCHNEIDER: Overall, I mean if you just look at numbers, the U.S. is at least in as deep doo-doo as Europe.

Schneider says the U.S. is obviously worried that if the euro zone crisis escalates investors could start looking more closely at the U.S. debt situation.

From London I’m Stephen Beard for Marketplace.

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