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Merkel pushes euro zone for reforms after bank closure deal

Published on Dec 19, 2013 11:14 PM

BRUSSELS (REUTERS) - German Chancellor Angela Merkel pressed euro zone leaders at a summit on Thursday to agree on binding contracts to reform their economies after finance ministers clinched an outline deal on a common system for closing failed banks.

Fresh from re-election by parliament at the head of a left-right "grand coalition", Ms Merkel said Berlin was willing to offer some financial support to countries that commit to overhauling their labour markets, public sector, education, research and welfare policies, under the monitoring of the EU.

"If we got a real qualitative leap forward in terms of binding commitments ... then we could also imagine that new ways are found to provide those countries that require additional help to reach their goals with that help," she told the Bundestag in a pre-summit speech on Wednesday.

Berlin wants its partners in the 17-nation single currency to emulate changes it made a decade ago to unemployment benefits, labour laws and pension system that helped make its economy more competitive.

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