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Europe
Merkel calls for tighter euro fiscal union
German chancellor rejects quick-fix ideas to solve eurozone debt crisis, saying stricter regulations are needed.
Last Modified: 02 Dec 2011 15:03



German Chancellor Angela Merkel has said the eurozone debt crisis cannot be solved overnight, urging instead a long-term approach that relies on tougher fiscal rules in European treaties.

A week before European leaders meet for what is being seen as a make-or-break summit for the single currency bloc, Merkel on Friday once again rejected the idea of joint euro zone bonds and cautioned against steps that might hurt the credibility of the European Central Bank.

"The government has made clear that the European debt crisis can't be solved in one fell swoop overnight. There is no miracle solution. There is no easy, rapid solution," Merkel told parliament. "Resolving the sovereign debt crisis is a process and this process will take years."

Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy are pushing for a reorganisation of existing EU regulations, in order to ensure the eurozone's long-term stability and win back the trust of markets.

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In laying out to the lower house of parliament plans she will take to a December 9 EU summit in Brussels, Merkel insisted the 17 nations that use the euro currency need to strengthen EU institutions and eurozone financial regulations.

"Strong decisions"

She called for closer supervision of national budgets, coupled with legal regulations that would allow for stronger enforcement of spending rules.

"In order to win back trust, we need to do more, where we today have agreements, we need in the future to have legally binding regulations," Merkel said.

The eurozone's current budget rules have been violated about 60 times over the past decade by a number of nations - including Germany - but no country has been seriously punished.

To ensure that nations are keeping their budgets in check with the limits of the stability pact - deficits not more than three per cent of gross domestic product and overall government debt of not more than 60 per cent of GDP -
Germany is pushing for the right to take countries in violation before the European Court of Justice.

Pieter de Vilde, a research fellow at Germany's Social Science Centre told Al Jazeera, "Eurozone leaders need to make strong decisions, or the euro will fail"

"The EU summit will be important, as if Europe's leaders fail to come up with a long term plan, then the eurozone could collapse," said de Vilde.

Merkel spoke a day after Sarkozy warned against handing over control to a supra-national body in Brussels. "The reform of Europe is not a march towards supra-nationality," Sarkozy said in the French city of Toulon.

Sarkozy is discussing the crisis with the British Prime Minister David Cameron in Paris,  plans to reorganise the governance of the eurozone which will see closer co-operation within the 17-strong bloc, potentially lessening Britain's influence is being discussed.

 

Source:
Al Jazeera and agencies
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