Merkel Says Germany Is An Economic Role Model

BERLIN (AP) -- Germany's chancellor said Tuesday that the basic principles of the country's social market economy should be followed around the world.

The lack of regulation that led to the financial crisis with its disastrous consequences has shown the need for strong guiding principles, Angela Merkel said.

In order to defend its economic model in a globalized world, Germany must make sure that the "basic principles of the social market economy will be anchored around the world," Merkel added.

Germany has persistently lobbied for strengthening the regulation of financial markets in the wake of the crisis. Despite the failure to reach a global agreement for taxing banks or financial transactions at the G-20 summit over the weekend, Merkel's government has pledged to seek the establishment of a European bank levy.

The chancellor spoke in Berlin on the 20th anniversary of the social, economic and monetary union between western Germany and the former communist east, which established the social market economy and the German mark as the currency for both countries and thereby paved the way for the reunification a few months later.

Even though the sudden change from a planned communist to a free market economy in 1990 has brought many people hardship and unemployment, the achievements since 1990 show that "Germany's reunification was a success story," she said.

The economy of the former communist East Germany -- where Merkel grew up -- was marked by "the highest level of inefficiency," she said. "Common sense had no chance because of the primacy of the dictatorship of the working class," Merkel added.

The fall of communism across eastern Europe paved the way for globalization and brought new challenges, she said.

Germany now has to find its way to achieve balanced and sustainable growth "to ensure its future in a more competitive world," she said.

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