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German, Irish leaders at odds on major EU treaty amendment


09:15, November 17, 2011

BERLIN, Nov. 16 (Xinhua) -- German Chancellor Angela Merkel failed to reach a consensus with visiting Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny on Wednesday over whether to change European Union (EU) treaties.

Merkel called for amendments which would make it possible to sue eurozone governments in violation of regulations on the budgetary discipline before the European Court of Justice.

"We want a power of discipline from Brussels, from the Commission, or a right of lawsuit by the member nations before the European Court, when the European Stability and Growth Pact is not followed," she said, insisting that the amendments were needed.

But her Irish counterpart Kenny emphasized the difficulty of persuading electorates to approve treaty changes in referendums, citing the "need to deal with this crisis with the facilities and the rules that we have now."

"We've had a frank discussion about that with the chancellor, and I believe that the immediate crisis has to be dealt with in the short term with the facilities and the tools that are available to us," he said.

Ireland was obliged to take up an 85-billion-euro (114.8 billion U.S. dollars) bailout to tackle its huge debt and deficit predicament at the end of last year.

It has pledged to trim its public deficit to 8.6 percent in 2012 and to less than 3.0 percent by 2015 through financial austerity and tax increase.

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