German Chancellor Angela Merkel flatly rejected any quick-fix ideas to try to resolve the European financial crisis, telling lawmakers Friday that treaty changes and a stricter fiscal union were the only path forward - a process could take years.
Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy are pushing for a reorganization of existing European Union regulations, in order to ensure the eurozone's long-term stability and win back the trust of markets that have grown jittery over what they view as European dithering.
In laying out to the lower house of Parliament plans she will take to a Dec. 9 EU summit in Brussels, Merkel insisted the 17 nations that use the euro currency need to strengthen European Union institutions and eurozone financial regulations. She called for closer supervision of national budgets, coupled with legal regulations that would allow for stronger enforcement of spending rules.
"The German government has made it clear that the European crisis will not be solved in one fell swoop..." she said. "It's a process, and this process will take years."
Merkel said that because the crisis is above all one of trust, in order to move forward, "we need to do away with the underlying deficiencies in the fiscal and currency union."
"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.