The German Chancellor Angela Merkel has called Europe’s debt crisis the continent’s “toughest hour since World War II.”
She was addressing the Christian Democrats party congress in Leipzig, where many are uneasy over bailouts. Some believe the euro itself was a mistake.
But the German leader’s message was that the party needed to stick to its guns. The “challenge of our generation” was to bring about political union, she said.
“The euro is far more than just a currency. It is a symbol of European unification and it has become the symbol for half a century of peace, freedom and prosperity. All that must not be taken for granted when we look at developments elsewhere. That’s why I’m saying over and over again: if the euro fails, Europe will fail. We want to and we will avoid that, dear friends. That’s what we are working for because it’s a project of such historic proportions.”
Merkel’s personal challenge is a tough one: to retain power. Although elections are not due till 2013 in Germany, some believe the crisis might bring events forward.