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Ecb's Weber Says Tough Part Still Ahead In Debt Marathon

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ECB policymaker Axel Weber said on Monday that debt-strained euro zone countries must make the most of the breathing space bought by aid measures and warned the hardest part of the reform process was still ahead.

Weber, who earlier this month said he was stepping down from the Bundesbank and ruled himself out of the running to become the next ECB president, compared the austerity drives by countries like Greece, Ireland, Portugal and Spain to running a marathon.

"The fiscal stabilisation measures (of EU/IMF) have bought time. Time that has to be used," Weber said in a speech given at the Nordrhein Westfaelischen Academy of Economics and Arts in Duesseldorf.

"If compared to a marathon, the problem countries have made it through perhaps the first 10 or 15 kilometres. In my experience of running these kind of distances, I can say that the most painful moments come at a later point."

Weber added that the euro remained a stable currency and said the euro zone debt crisis was down to overspending by individual countries rather than a fundamental problem with the single currency.

He said that while bailing out countries such as Greece and Ireland had been necessary the impact of those decisions had been profound.

"As necessary and justifiable as the choices may have been, one has to admit, however, that the fiscal stabilisation measures have shaken and fundamentally damaged the foundations of monetary union."

Countries that need to repair their finances need to make the choice of going through the necessary pain or else accept they will have to pay higher borrowing costs on financial markets, Weber said.

I like how the Euro doesn't have a problem when many of it's states have a huge debt mountains. I think someone is being economical with the truth.

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