Merkel: "Europe is on the right path"
(© picture alliance / dpa)
Chancellor Angela Merkel says the future course of the European Union will be a decisive issue for next year's federal election campaign.
Speaking in a feature interview on public television channel ZDF on Sunday, Merkel said the question of continued solidarity with other EU states concerned citizens not just in Germany, but in also in every member of the 27-country bloc.
"For this reason next year's vote will also be about the situation in Europe and what expectations we have for Europe," the chancellor said.
Her personal vision and that of her center-right coalition, she said, was of a "stability union that can assert itself on the world stage."
Merkel also used the interview to defend her government's efforts to solve the eurozone crisis and, in particular, the results of a European summit last month.
Critics argue that a provision of the agreement reached in Brussels last month, which would allow the EU's future bailout fund to provide direct aid to troubled banks, could lead to strong economies like Germany assuming collective liability for weaker member states. On Sunday, the chancellor repeated her assertion that this interpretation of the agreement simply wasn't factual as this could not happen until new pan-European control mechanisms were put in place.
She also stressed that Germany would demand strict controls and conditions for any future financial bailouts.
"Germany's strengths aren't unlimited and we as Europe face worldwide competition and we have to successfully compete, if we want to maintain our prosperity," she said.
Although the crisis still wasn't solved, the chancellor expressed confidence that the eurozone was “on the right path. More has been done in the past few months in Europe than in many years, but a lot still has to be done.”
The chancellor said she expected the Bundestag to approve an aid package for Spain's banking sector when lawmakers vote on the deal on Wednesday.
The chancellor wrapped up the interview by confirming that she intended to run for re-election next year, something she had previously announced last November.