No country is at risk of being forced out of the eurozone, despite the fact that the 17-member currency bloc still faces many problems, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said in an interview with dpa on Friday.
“We have come a long way, but still there are many problems to solve,” Ms. Merkel said, adding that overcoming the debt crisis is a long process involving a series of steps and measures.
She also rejected suggestions that the problems facing nations at the centre of the crisis might force them to exit the euro.
“No, I don’t see that,” the chancellor said. “We all need a common Europe.” She also said that US President Barack Obama and herself had agreed that ministers from Germany and the United States would meet in Washington in the coming weeks to discuss claims that the US secret service had bugged EU offices and the embassies of European allies, including Germany.
“Many questions are still open, and we will endeavour to answer them as soon as we have some kind of clarity,” she said. “And everything that can be made public we will make public.” Ms.Merkel faces a general election in September, but insists that her decisions on Europe had not been influenced by the timing of polls.
“I would not have made a single decision on Europe any different if an election had been held a year earlier or later,” she said.
She said that the EU was right to give cash-strapped eurozone states such as Greece and Portugal some extra room to cut back their high deficit-and-debt levels, since the scale of the problems they faced had placed the euro at risk.
The chancellor said that in addition to getting their state finances back onto a solid basis, Europe’s debt-hit nations need to improve their competitiveness and promote new and sustainable economic growth and employment.
“Every country in Europe has to face the question of how it sees itself making money in the future and how it intends to encourage prosperity,” she said.
In the interview, Ms. Merkel also once again reaffirmed her hopes of remaining chancellor during the next legislative period.
“I like being chancellor and want to stay in the job and indeed for the whole next legislative period, because I see many challenges ahead of us.”