Merkel responds to harsh critics on new stimulus plan

The new German 50-billion-euro stimulus plan has been widely criticized for being too stringent to reverse the recession. Chancellor Angela Merkel defended her "Pact for Germany", saying it will boost growth.


AFP - Chancellor Angela Merkel defended her 50-billion-euro (66-billion-dollar) stimulus package for Germany on Tuesday, saying it would boost growth and protect jobs in Europe's biggest economy.

"With our 'Pact for Germany' we are providing the impetus ... for growth, for employment in Germany, because employment for people is our overriding concern," Merkel told reporters after her government agreed a new raft of measures overnight to stop Germany slipping into its worst post-war recession.

"We will do everything in our power to make sure that Germany not only overcomes this crisis but that Germany emerges stronger from the crisis."

The package includes 17-18 billion euros in investments in roads and schools and some nine billion euros tax cuts for firms and individuals.

Critics on Tuesday slammed the measures as too little, too late to haul Germany out of recession.

But Merkel said Berlin conducted a "sober analysis" of the situation and determined that the time had arrived to launch such a rescue package.

"This time has now come," Merkel said.

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