ANGELA Merkel yesterday made an impassioned plea for a “signal of strength” from world leaders and insisted that the time had come to agree on tougher regulations for banks and financial markets.

Speaking in Berlin, ahead of today’s EU talks on measures to shore up the plunging euro, the german chancellor promised to campaign for a global tax on financial transactions at the G20 summit in June, and called on her fellow leaders to agree on a banking levy, backed in principle by Germany and France, as well as the UK and the US.

Merkel also gave her support to a plan to establish an independent European rating agency.

Even as markets continued to plunge, exacerbated by the German government’s panic move earlier this week to ban naked short selling of Eurozone government bonds and Merkel’s own apocalyptic comments on the euro, Merkel insisted that new regulations would demonstrate that politicians had a grip on the febrile financial markets.

Merkel said at the height of the global financial crisis in 2008, the G20 nations promised regulation, but had made little progress.

“At some point we have to provide the proof and say ‘come here, we’ve done it’. This point shouldn’t be too far away,” she said.

The speech, which comes as German MPs vote today on their nation’s share of the $1 trillion package of loan guarantees designed to “save” the euro, was criticised as politically motivated with the German government under intense pressure to justify the cost of the Greek bailout to the taxpayer, along with the prospectively much larger cost of shoring up the single currency.