Merkel rejects European bank deposit guarantee

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Thursday that her government backs a proposed European banking union but rejects for now a plan for common deposit guarantees.

Merkel rejects European bank deposit guarantee
Photo: DPA

Such schemes would reimburse depositors by a limited amount of their funds if a bank failed – a measure meant to boost confidence and prevent bank runs.

Merkel said she opposed a Europe-wide guarantee “at least for the foreseeable future,” according to a summary of her speech to bankers made available by event organisers.

Germany, Europe’s biggest economy and the main EU paymaster, worries that such a guarantee could leave its taxpayers with the bill for reckless lending by foreign banks.

The 17-member eurozone has decided to establish a banking union to help countries tackle problems with troubled banks. Under the plan, the European Central Bank will supervise more than 5,000 banks from July 2014.

Other proposed steps include a uniform process for winding down banks, and a regional deposit guarantee system that effectively spreads the risk between member countries.

On Wednesday, German central bank president and ECB board member Jens Weidmann also rejected plans for a eurozone-wide guarantee as “not sensible.”


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Emergency numbers fail in several German states

Callers to the emergency numbers 110 and 112 weren’t able to reach operators Thursday morning in several German states.

The 112 emergency number on an ambulance.
The 112 emergency number on an ambulance. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Boris Roessler

The emergency number 110 for police and 112 for fire crews failed around the country early Thursday morning, with callers unable to reach emergency operators for urgent assistance between about 4:30 am and 5:40 am local time.

The Office for Civil Protection and Disaster Aid is looking into these outages, which were reported in states including Lower Saxony, Baden-Württemberg, and  Brandenburg, and in major cities like Berlin, Cologne, Hamburg, and Frankfurt. Cologne was further affected by cuts to electricity, drinking water, and regular telephone services. Lower Saxony also saw disruptions to the internal phone networks of police and hospitals.

Emergency services are not reporting any more disturbances and people should be able to once again reach 110 and 112 around the country as normal.

Investigators are looking into the problem, but haven’t yet established a cause or any consequences that may have happened due to the outage. Provider Deutsche Telekom says they have ruled out the possibility of an attack by hackers.