The eurozone will take at least another five years to recover from the crippling debt crisis that has hampered even Europe (Chicago Options: ^REURUSD - news) 's most powerful economy, according to German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
Mrs Merkel said that though Europe was on the right path to overcome the crisis, she added: "Whoever thinks this can be fixed in one or two years is wrong."
“We need a long breath of five years and more,” she told a conference in Sternberg, Germany. “We need rigor to convince the world it’s worth investing in Europe.”
Two years ago some heavily indebted European countries were dragged into the turmoil that first gripped global financial markets in 2007.
Greece in particular has been struggling with the austerity conditions imposed on it by countries such as Germany.
But Mrs Merkel told a regional meeting of her Christian Democratic Party on Saturday that the time had come for "a bit of strictness."
Otherwise, she says, Europe won't be able to attract international investment.
Data on Friday showed that that eurozone's manufacturing sector contracted for the 15th month running in October as output and new orders fell.
Manufacturers were the driving force behind the bloc's recovery from the last recession, but the downturn in factory activity that began in smaller periphery countries has now engulfed core members Germany and France.
"The manufacturing sector opened the final quarter of 2012 on a disappointing footing, as the downturn in the sector gathered pace," said Chris Williamson, chief economist at data collator Markit.
"The national data also paint a bleaker picture. The ongoing weakness of the periphery is being combined with hollowing out of the previously strong core of France and Germany."