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German Politicians Debate Euro

April 23, 2000

BERLIN (AP) _ Germany’s finance minister expressed confidence Sunday that the euro would rebound from its recent lows, but opposition politicians warned that single currency’s weakness is hurting the German economy and perceptions of the government.

Launched on Jan. 1, 1999, by 11 of the 15 European Union countries, the euro has steadily sunk against the dollar, hitting a new low of 93.55 cents Thursday in U.S. trading.

Finance Minister Hans Eichel said in Sunday’s Berliner Morgenpost newspaper that he believed the ``attractive economy in Europe″ would soon reverse that trend.

``Prices in Europe are stable and the economy is booming,″ he said. ``The euro is coming.″

But Hermann Otto Solms of the opposition Free Democrats told the Welt am Sonntag newspaper that the weak euro is a sign world markets lack confidence in the economic and financial policies of the European countries.

``Especially the government shows that they are not capable or willing to carry out the necessary reforms,″ he told the newspaper.

As an example, he pointed to tax, pension and health reforms he says haven’t been carried out.

Another leading opposition lawmaker, Michael Glos, told the newspaper the weak euro is a concern for Germans.

``The euro is making all Germans poorer,″ he told the newspaper.

One of Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder’s chief economic advisers, Juergen Donges, agreed that the euro’s weakness was causing some Germans to lose faith in the single currency. He accused Italy and France of backsliding on promises to reform their labor markets as well as tax and pension systems.

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