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Europe could take years to solve debt crisis – Merkel

BERLIN: German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Wednesday it could take Europe years to solve its debt crisis, as growing scepticism about the outcome of last week’s EU summit weighed on financial markets.

In a speech to the German Bundestag or lower house of parliament, Merkel defended the move for tighter budget policing in the European Union, saying Europe and the eurozone would emerge stronger from the crisis.

“Getting over the state debt crisis is… a process. This process won’t last weeks, it won’t last months, it will last years,” she said.

There could be “setbacks but if we don’t let ourselves be discouraged… Europe won’t just overcome the crisis but will emerge from it strengthened,” she added.

European Union leaders from 26 of the 27 member states agreed at a high-stakes Brussels summit last week to back a Franco-German drive for tighter budget policing in a bid to save the eurozone.

After Britain, which does not use the euro, blocked changes to an EU-wide treaty, the other 26 EU states signalled their willingness to join a “new fiscal compact” imposing tougher budget rules.

Merkel said that with such a fiscal compact: “The vision of a real political union is beginning to take on contours.”

Nevertheless, markets remained sceptical whether the moves decided in Brussels will be enough to prevent a break-up of the euro area.

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