Merkel pledges Bundesbank chief support-sources

BERLIN, Sept 5 Wed Sep 5, 2012 3:44pm EDT

BERLIN, Sept 5 (Reuters) - German Chancellor Angela Merkel has pledged her support for Bundesbank chief Jens Weidmann in the debate over the role of the European Central Bank (ECB), sources at a meeting of Merkel and leading German conservatives said on Wednesday.

Weidmann opposes the ECB's plans to buy debt of euro zone countries with high borrowing costs, saying that plan cannot replace economic reforms.

Germany's Bild reported last week Weidmann had threatened to resign over the plan, but had been dissuaded by the German government.

Norbert Barthle, a senior lawmaker and budget expert with Merkel's Christian Democrats (CDU) said Merkel had stressed however that while preserving its independence and upholding its mandate, the ECB could play a part in stabilising the currency.

"So long as the measures are within the mandate this is fine ... but this (the measures) cannot be done long-term. Otherwise this would be fiscal policy-making and this is not the role of the ECB," Barthle said.

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