BERLIN, March 9 German Chancellor Angela
Merkel's junior coalition partner warned on Saturday against
efforts to talk down the euro, saying a weaker currency would
stoke inflation and hurt ordinary Europeans.
"There is a new danger in Europe - that is the discussion
about whether it would be better to weaken the currency instead
of strengthening competitiveness," Philipp Roesler, leader of
the pro-business Free Democrats (FDP), told his party.
"We believe that trying to exert political pressure on the
European Central Bank (ECB) is disastrous," he said.
France and some other euro zone states fear that a strong
euro will hurt their exporters and snuff out the growth they
need to create jobs and restore their public finances.
French President Francois Hollande called last month for a
mid-term target for the euro exchange rate but ran into
immediate opposition from Berlin.
The euro has been relatively firm since the ECB vowed last
summer to do whatever is necessary to save the currency, despite
persistent concerns among investors over Europe's stagnant
economy and political challenges such as the rise of populist,
anti-austerity parties, most recently seen in Italy's election.
Some countries such as the United States and Japan have been
accused of using monetary policy to shape currency movements.
Addressing a congress of his party ahead of Germany's
federal elections in September, Roesler said a looser monetary
policy from the ECB would harm European wage-earners, pensioners
and savers, not the wealthy.
The congress is expected to approve a motion backing the
ECB's independence and ruling out mutualisation of debt within
the euro zone, another idea canvassed in the past by France.
Merkel hopes to renew her coalition with the FDP if, as
expected, her party again emerges as the largest after the
election. But support for the FDP has weakened sharply and it is
not sure that they will clear the 5 percent threshold for