News Column

Merkel Criticizes Remarks

June 28, 2013
angela Merkel

German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Friday rebuked Irish bankers who were recorded making jokes about Germans in 2008, the year Ireland was forced to accept an international bailout to rescue the Anglo Irish lender.

There seemed to be a consistent attitude in the bank "that is very, very hard to bear, not to say unbearable, for normal people who go to work everyday to make money," Merkel told journalists at a summit of EU leaders in Brussels.

The Irish Independent newspaper has published phone conversations in which an Anglo Irish banker is heard singing the German national anthem before the war. The recordings also reveal bankers were aware that the bailout would cost more than they had initially requested.

Germany contributed to the 85-billion-euro (111-billion-dollar) bailout out package, which also involved the International Monetary Fund and European Union.

Merkel said she had "only contempt" for the bankers' actions, which "are really damaging democracy, the social market economy and everything we work for."

The Irish government on Tuesday promised a full inquiry into the 2008 collapse of the country's banking system after the tapes were published.

"They shine a bright light on the vulgarity of what went on there," Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny said after the talks with his EU counterparts in Brussels, adding that he agreed with Merkel.

"This has damaged our reputation, but I think every leader in the room at the (summit) understands that this was a time in the past," he added.

Source: Copyright 2013 dpa Deutsche Presse-Agentur GmbH

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