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MENAFN - Arab News - 05/11/2012

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(MENAFN - Arab News) German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Saturday it will take "five years or more" to overcome the euro debt crisis, local media reported.

"We have to hold our breath for five years or more," Merkel told the regional party congress of her Christian Democratic Union (CDU) at Sternberg in east Germany, the DPA news agency reported.

"A lot of investors do not believe that we can keep our promises in Europe," she said, adding: "We must demonstrate rigour in order to convince the world that it is profitable to invest in Europe."

Before a crucial European Union summit on November 24-25, Merkel is set to meet with several European leaders.

On Wednesday, she will address the European Parliament before later holding talks with British Prime Minister David Cameron.

Then on November 12 she will travel to Portugal, one of the debt-stricken eurozone nations that has received an international bailout.

Also yesterday, the Sunday Telegraph reported that Britain will demand changes to the European Union's regional development funds in budget talks this month, including stripping wealthier nations of access to money intended to help poorer areas.

Prime Minister David Cameron's government suffered an embarrassing defeat in parliament this week when anti-EU members of his Conservative party teamed up with the opposition to demand a cut in the EU budget.

But Cameron, aware that a real-terms cut could be hard to win in Brussels, is instead pushing for a real-terms freeze in the budget, which would allow it to rise in line with inflation.

The Conservative-led coalition government also believes changes to the regional development funds are achievable, the Telegraph reported, citing a high-level, unnamed source as saying. The prime minister's office declined to comment on the report.

The European Commission wants 376 billion euros ( 483 billion) from member states in the 2014-2020 period for the EU's cohesion funds, which are intended to help level out wealth inequality across the 27-nation bloc.


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