“Next year, we will have very low growth rates, we will see negative growth in some countries, and we can expect very high unemployment levels,” said Merkel at the end of a two-day summit of European Union (EU) leaders in the Belgian capital, Brussels on Friday.
Referring to Europe’s protracted debt crisis and the related austerity measures, she said, “One reason I am careful with my forecasts is the adjustment process; the changes that we are going through are very difficult and painful.”
On November 3, the German chancellor said EU governments need at least five years or more to overcome Europe’s economic crisis.
“The financial debt crisis and the economic crisis which comes with it in the eurozone area [are] still not over. We have to hold our breath for five years or more,” she said.
Europe plunged into financial crisis in early 2008. Insolvency now threatens heavily-debt-ridden countries such as Greece, Spain, Portugal, Italy, and Ireland.
The debt crisis has forced the EU governments to adopt harsh austerity measures and tough economic reforms, triggering incidents of social unrest and massive protests in many European countries.