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Work more, play less, Merkel tells southern Europe: report

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(BERLIN) - German Chancellor Angela Merkel has responded to voter anger about eurozone bailouts by saying that people in southern Europe should retire later and take fewer holidays, press reports said on Wednesday.

"(People) in countries like Greece, Spain and Portugal should not retire earlier than in Germany. We should all make the same efforts, this is important," the German press agency DPA cited Merkel as saying late on Tuesday.

Merkel, who has come under fire for agreeing the bailouts worth tens of billions of euros (dollars) for Greece, Ireland and Portugal, also said that differences in holiday rules within Europe should be ironed out.

"We cannot have a currency (the euro) with one person getting lots of holiday and another person very little. Long term this can't work," the 56-year-old was quoted as saying at a party event in Meschede, western Germany.

Germany is in the process of raising its retirement age from 65 to 67 as it seeks to bring down its budget deficit, which the government forecasts will be within EU limits this year, helped by strong growth.

As Europe's biggest economy it has been the biggest contributor to recent bailouts.


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