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Eurozone calm compared to a year ago: Juncker

Published on 16/05/2013

The eurozone crisis has eased markedly from one year ago when some doubted its very survival, Luxembourg Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker said in Germany on Thursday.

When EU leaders gather next week in Brussels they will be able to look back at a recent “calmer period”, the former Eurogroup chief told reporters ahead of a meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

In brief comments to the media he said that 12 months ago “no doubt the central issue would have been whether Greece gets kicked out of the eurozone, and there would have been questions about the substance and survival of the eurozone”.

“All these fears and all these headlines” have vanished, he said, speaking in German.

“The situation is less dramatic than even one year ago,” added Juncker, who earlier took part in a German television forum on the future of Europe, along with Merkel and other politicians.

However, Juncker cautioned that “we are on the right path but not yet over the hill” and need to push on with reforms, including in the banking sector. He said Europe needs to continue with fiscal consolidation and that “of course we need more growth and more employment”.

European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso similarly told the television forum, speaking by video link, that “the existential crisis of the euro is behind us”.

He said that, despite “real problems” such as unemployment, “overall the doubts about the stability of the euro are not there anymore”.

Merkel said a key issue driving forward would be bank reform.

“The more we look at the topic of banks, the clearer it is that the credibility of the European banking sector is a central question, including for the revival of the economy,” she said.