Up to 15 years needed to fix Greece: German president

BERLIN Sun Jul 10, 2011 12:15pm EDT

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BERLIN (Reuters) - Greece will need a lot longer to resolve its debt problems than many people in Europe are now acknowledging, German President Christian Wulff said in an interview to be aired on Sunday.

Wulff, a former leader in Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservative Christian Democrats and now Germany's ceremonial head of state, told ZDF television that there was a need for "an overall concept" for resolving Europe's debt crisis.

"It can't be something that will suffice for a three month period but rather has to offer solutions to the problem that to cover the next 10 to 15 years," Wulff said.

"And Greece will need a lot more time period than one in Europe is currently willing to acknowledge," said Wulff, whose office carries only limited executive power.

Wulff also said that banks and ratings agencies should be held more accountable for their role in the European debt crisis.

He said he public has watched banks and ratings agencies "play their game and earn more and more money but don't take part in an appropriate way on resolving the problem." Wulff said that was unacceptable and has enraged the public.

"The primacy of politics must be re-conquered," he said. "We need a restructuring of the banking landscape, we need different structures for ratings agencies, and we obviously need more sanctions mechanisms."

(Reporting by Gernot Heller; writing by Erik Kirschbaum; editing by Louise Heavens)

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