BERLIN German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Friday that interest rates will be able to rise again to levels better for savers once the European Union has pushed through structural reforms and trust in its banks is restored.
"That means: order in the European banking system, where we have already taken a lot of steps but still need to do more, plus real structural improvements of the European economic situation. Then interest rates can increase again," she said.
"Then we will get an interest rate that is better for savers than the one we have today," Merkel told a meeting of family-owned German firms, a day after the European Central Bank kept its main interest rate on hold at a record low 0.5 percent.
The conservative chancellor does not often comment on the interest rate policy of the independent ECB.
In April she raised eyebrows by saying the ECB would have to raise rates if it only took into account the German economy, rather than all 17 states in the currency zone.
(Reporting by Michelle Martin; Writing by Stephen Brown)