Laurels for ECB from Germany's Merkel

The German chancellor, Angela Merkel, has praised the European Central Bank's (ECB) "very outstanding role" in dealing with the world financial crisis.

Merkel's praise contrasts with the string of remarks she made last year, which appeared to question the ECB's monetary policies.

Since the outbreak of the credit crisis in the latter half of 2007, Merkel has, however, softened her stance and sought to distance herself somewhat from other political critics of the ECB, notably French president,