Berlin

Merkel defends German parliament after Monti comments

Italian premier said leaders should not be tied down

Merkel defends German parliament after Monti comments

(see related story on Monti) (ANSA) - Berlin, August 6 - Chancellor Angela Merkel moved to defend the Bundestag on Monday after Italian Premier Mario Monti said leaders should not let themselves be tied down by their legislatures in EU negotiations. "The chancellor's opinion is that we in Germany have always done well with the right balance bewteen parliamentary support and the participation of parliament," Georg Streiter, one of Merkel's spokespersons, was quoted as saying by the DPA agency. In an interview published on Sunday by German weekly Der Spiegel, Monti said that "if governments let themselves be bound completely by the decisions of their parliaments without maintaining their own scope for negotiation, Europe is more likely to break up than it is to see closer integration". The comments were criticised by all sides of the political spectrum in Germany. "Parliamentary checks on European policy are beyond any debate," said Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle, the chairman of the Free Democratic Party which is allied in government with Merkel's Christian Democratic Union (CDU). "We need to strengthen, not weaken, democratic legitimization in Europe". Joachim Poss of the opposition Social Democratic Party (SDP) echoed those sentiments. "Acceptance of the euro and saving it is reinforced by national parliaments, not weakened by it," Poss said.

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