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Germany: Time For European Ratings Agencies

German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle
German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle says it is time for Europe to create its own independent credit ratings agencies.

Westerwelle spoke on January 15 on a visit to debt-crippled Greece. His comments came two days after the Standard & Poor's ratings agency on January 13 downgraded the credit rating of nine European countries -- raising fresh concerns on markets about the European debt crisis and the euro currency.

Westerwelle said the decisions of the ratings agencies can help create uncertainty in markets.

"It is high time that Europe asserts itself and that we ensure competition between the ratings agencies," he said. "A lot of politics plays into this, many political value judgments. And therefore it is necessary that in Europe, we found independent, European ratings agencies."

Westerwelle said agreements between European Union member states aimed at handling the debt crisis must be given a realistic chance to work, suggesting that the announcements of ratings agencies can prematurely raise doubts.

compiled from agency reports