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Merkel defends austerity approach

German chancellor Angela Merkel has rejected calls to abandon austerity measures.

She said structural reforms alongside austerity remain the only way Europe can get through its financial crisis.

In a speech to the German parliament, Mrs Merkel rejected calls to abandon or scale back austerity measures in certain countries that use the euro.

Debt reduction and growth are the "two pillars" of the strategy needed to bring the bloc out of the crisis, she said.

Mrs Merkel said: "Growth through structural reform is important and necessary - growth through debt would throw us back to the beginning of the crisis."

Europe's debt crisis has flared up again in recent days after Greek and French elections highlighted the scale of opposition to austerity.

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