European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso called on Germany's political leaders Monday to form a stable government as soon as possible, warning Europe's economic recovery depended on it.
"I certainly hope that as soon as possible a stable government comes out from Germany," Barroso told reporters. "Germany is the ... engine of Europe. Without a dynamic Germany, Europe cannot recover."
Officials at EU headquarters have kept a close eye on the outcome of the German elections, which saw a narrow but unclear victory for Angela Merkel's conservative party and her platform for more economic reforms. Both Merkel and Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder are claiming the right to head the next government, the AP reports.
EU spokeswoman Francoise Le Bail said a stable German government was vital to getting agreement on stalled EU budget talks, membership negotiations with Croatia and Turkey, and the fate of the EU's embattled constitution.
"Germany is a very important member state and there are a lot of important political dossiers which are on the table," Le Bail told reporters. "As soon as there is a German government it will be possible for Europe to go ahead ... and a solution for these problems found."
She said central among those issues was getting agreement "before the end of the year," on 2007-2013 EU spending plans. Talks on a new budget collapsed at a summit in June when British Prime Minister Tony Blair insisted farm aid be diverted to boost spending in new technology and research programs.
Success on deeper EU reform depends on backing from Germany, which remains the bloc's largest economy.
Blair is hosting a special EU summit near London next month to debate possible reforms to boost jobs. It is unclear who would represent Germany at that meeting.
On photo: European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso.