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Eurozone will get debt crisis under control: Germany

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(FRANKFURT) - The 17-nation eurozone will get its long-running debt crisis under control next year, German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said in a newspaper interview published on Friday.

"Within the next 12 months, we'll have stemmed the contagion risks and stabilised the eurozone. All euro countries will have made progress in overcoming their respective problems," Schaeuble told the business daily Handelsblatt.

He ruled out a break-up of the single currency area, insisting: "A common currency welds together countries' fates. That's why policymakers are doing everything to prevent disintegration."

The minister reiterated his call for the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) -- a permanent bail-out facility for euro members -- to be put in place as soon as possible.

At a summit in Brussels earlier this month, EU leaders agreed on bringing the ESM into force in July 2012, earlier than first mooted, with a lending capacity of 500 billion euros.

"That would send the strongest signal that eurozone countries back the single currency," Schaeuble said.

Negotiations would be finalised in the first quarter so that the ESM would be up and running by mid-year, Schaeuble said.

And the sooner member states made available the pledged 80 billion euros ($103 billion) in capital contributions the better, he said.

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