Crisis 'will take years to fix'

German chancellor Angela Merkel has said there is no easy fix to the European financial crisis, and that a solution will "take years".

Mrs Merkel told her country's parliament that "the German government has made it clear that the European crisis will not be solved in one fell swoop. It's a process, and that process will take years".

Mrs Merkel and French president Nicolas Sarkozy are pushing for a reorganisation of existing regulations aimed at keeping the eurozone from breaking apart.

The German leader's address comes ahead of a December 9 EU summit in Brussels where she and Mr Sarkozy plan to propose joint action "to avoid a splitting of the eurozone and non-eurozone members".

She also told MPs she is sticking to her position that the European Central Bank must remain independent to maintain trust.

Mrs Merkel said she still rejects eurobonds, telling parliament that jointly backed government debt across the eurozone is no solution to the financial crisis. She claimed the eurozone instead needs a new "stability union" with stronger fiscal controls and debt regulations.

Ms Merkel said that because the crisis is above all one of trust, 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."

She also hit back at charges that Germany and France are trying to dominate the EU, singling out those nations whose governments have been forced to push through tough austerity measures and praising their efforts.

"I don't think we can imagine how much these people contribute so that the euro will be a lasting and stable currency," Ms Merkel said. "I would like to express my absolute respect before these efforts, for that is a contribution to Europe's future."