German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she expects turbulence this year as she does “everything” to save the euro amid Europe’s sovereign debt crisis.
“The path to overcoming this won’t be without setbacks, but at the end of this path, Europe will emerge stronger from the crisis than before,” Merkel said in a New Year’s TV speech to the nation, sent in advance by e-mail.
Merkel will meet with French President Nicolas Sarkozy in Berlin on Jan. 9 to discuss revisions to Europe’s fiscal rulebook following decisions made at a Dec. 9 summit. A final accord by euro leaders on the German-French proposals agreed at the summit is due in March.
“Today, you can trust that I will do everything to strengthen the euro,” Merkel said. “This will only succeed if Europe learns from the mistakes of the past. One of these is that a common currency can only be successful if we cooperate more than in the past in Europe.”
A crisis that began in Greece two years ago has moved to the eurozone’s core and leaders are struggling to convince investors they can contain the risk and assure the euro’s survival.
Germans are split over whether the debt crisis can be fixed, with 52 percent of voters saying that a “fundamental solution” can be found to the eurozone’s woes, according to a Forsa GmbH poll for financial consultants AWD Holding AG published on Thursday. Twenty-two percent of the respondents expect the region to abandon the euro and return to national currencies, while 90 percent said in response to a separate question that other euro member states would join Greece, Portugal and Ireland in needing aid.
German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble urged Germans to show more “calm” over the crisis this year, saying in a Dec. 24 interview in the Bild am Sonntag newspaper that it is “manageable.”
Germany plans to speed up paying installments to Europe’s permanent bailout fund to boost market confidence in the eurozone’s resolve to beat the crisis.
The eurozone is “close to a turning point” in the crisis, Norbert Barthle, the budget spokesman for Merkel’s Christian Democrats, said in an interview on Thursday, adding that Germany might not even be forced to raise its net borrowing this year to accommodate increased payments to the European Stability Mechanism owing to rising tax revenue.