Merkel Says Euro Has ‘Long Way’ to Go Before Crisis Is Overcome

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said the euro area has a “long way” ahead before it overcomes the three-year-old debt crisis even though measures to boost competitiveness and cut debt are bearing fruit.

“We’ve achieved much but still have a lot of work ahead of us,” Merkel told Germany’s Straubinger Tagblatt/Landshuter Zeitung in an interview. The euro bailout funds, the fiscal pact governing debt reduction and an agreement on mapping out joint banking supervision are all moving forward, Merkel said.

“It’s moving ahead step by step,” Merkel said. It’s now “high time” to achieve what the founders of the single currency didn’t and move states toward improving competitiveness and structural reform, Merkel told the southern German newspapers.

Merkel declined to comment on former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s chances in next week’s election in Italy, saying only that reforms under Premier Mario Monti over the past few months have been rewarded with market confidence.