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Business

German finance minister lashes out at 'euro bashing'

The German finance minister has said he's not amused about the ongoing large-scale criticism of eurozone developments from experts outside the bloc. He thinks other regions in the world also need to do their homework.

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble on Thursday called for an end to the ongoing large-scale criticism of economic developments in the euro area from policymakers and pundits outside the 17-member bloc.

Speaking to reporters ahead of the International Monetary Fund's annual meeting in Tokyo, Schäuble said such often undifferentiated criticism was counter-productive.

"Euro bashing is rather mean," the minister commented.

He specifically chided IMF Chief Economist Olivier Blanchard for urging Germany do much more to fuel domestic demand so as to help drastically reduce its huge trade imbalance.

"We're always grateful for some advice, but it should be based on in-depth knowledge of the problems on our continent," Schäuble argued.

Nerves are raw

Schäuble said that with all the problems at hand in the eurozone, one must not forget that other regions in the world were facing severe economic problems too. He mentioned slowing growth in emerging nations and the debt load in the United States. He said the US had to do its homework too.

"That would be better than constantly criticizing others and forgetting about one's own problems," he said.

Schäuble said it was time to acknowledge the progress made in attempts to get on top of the eurozone debt crisis. He claimed the reforms enacted so far were already yielding results.

The minister was confident that eurozone deficits could be halved to 3.2 percent of gross domestic product in comparison to 2009 levels when the global financial crisis was at its peak.

hg/mz (Reuters, dpa)