German chancellor Angela Merkel has cautioned citizens to be prepared for tough times ahead in view of a deteriorating economic situation.
The economic environment in 2013 "will not be easier, but more difficult" and it demands courage, motivation and unity from the people, she said in her New Year's address to the national telecast on Sunday night.
The difficulties "should not despair us, on the contrary they should be stimulating," she said.
She appealed to the German public to have more patience with the efforts to overcome the euro zone sovereign debt crisis.
The reforms agreed by the European governments to tackle the crisis are beginning to show some effect. However, the crisis is "far from over and we continue to need a lot of patience," she said.
The chancellor called for more international efforts to rein in the financial markets.
"The world has not sufficiently learnt the lessons from the devastating financial crisis in 2008," she said.
Such a magnitude of irresponsibility at that time should never be tolerated, she said.
In the social market economy, the state is the guardian of order and the public must be able to rely on that.
Ms Merkel underlined the importance of education and research for the German economy and for the well-being of its people. "For our country, research means jobs. If we can do something that others cannot, we preserve and create prosperity," she said.
That is why the country is investing heavily in education and research, building up the nation as one of the most modern energy producers in the world, taking steps to cope with the demographic changes and bringing public finances in order, she said.
These objectives will continue to guide her government's policies in 2013.
Copyright @ Thomson Reuters 2012