Merkel says 'painful' vote defeat won't affect Europe stance
BERLIN - Agence France-Presse
AFP PhotoChancellor Angela Merkel said Monday her party's heavy losses in a crucial regional German vote was a "bitter, painful defeat" but stressed it had no bearing on her European policy.
"The work in Europe is not affected" by the historic defeat for her Christian Democrats (CDU) in Sunday's snap poll in North Rhine-Westphalia state, Merkel told a news conference.
She reiterated there was "no conflict between solid budgetary policy and growth" after some attributed the crushing poll result to Merkel's tough stance on austerity.
The poll, in which the CDU took just over 26 percent compared with 39.1 percent for the main opposition party, the Social Democrats, had more to do with the political parties' main contenders, Merkel said.
It is a setback however for Merkel about 16 months before she will seek a third term at the helm of Europe's top economy.