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Merkel Steps Up Defense of Budget Agenda, Targets Excessive Debt

Chancellor Angela Merkel stepped up her budget-cutting message in the face of rising criticism of Germany’s focus on austerity, saying that excessive debt robs states of their ability to make independent decisions.

Referring to euro-area countries shouldered with too much debt, Merkel told supporters in the northern German state of Schleswig-Holstein that certain nations had themselves brought on austerity by spending more than they raised in revenue.