Merkel says politicians must not interfere on ECB bond buying

BERLIN Mon Sep 17, 2012 6:48am EDT

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BERLIN (Reuters) - German Chancellor Angela Merkel said politicians had no business deciding how much debt the European Central Bank should buy on the secondary market as part of its plans to tackle the euro zone crisis.

"It is not for us (politicians) to set the limits (of ECB interventions)... That is the domain of the ECB," Merkel told a news conference on Monday.

She said Germany's contribution to the euro zone's permanent new bailout fund, the ESM, totaling 190 billion euros ($249 billion), was not linked to the bond-buying program, contradicting comments by a senior lawmaker from her ruling centre-right coalition suggesting that debt bought by the ECB was part of the total.

Merkel also said it was unlikely that a planned new pan-European bank supervisory body could be created by January 1, 2013, adding that direct ESM aid to euro zone banks could only come after the new body was functioning.

(Reporting by Noah Barkin, writing by Gareth Jones)

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