German Chancellor Angela Merkel urged European nations to continue the economic reforms they have begun and argued that the debt crisis offered an opportunity for the bloc to become more competitive.
"The political experience is that often you need pressure for political structural reforms," she told delegates at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
"If Europe is in a difficult situation today we need to implement structural reforms now so that we may live better tomorrow," she said.
Throughout the euro zone debt crisis, Merkel has placed significant emphasis on austerity measures in response to soaring debt and widening budget deficits.
Others, including French President Francois Hollande believe those measures need to be balanced with initiatives to spur growth. They fear austerity alone will not get the economy moving again.
"Consolidation and growth basically are two sides of the same coin," Merkel said.
Merkel called for the creation of a "competitiveness pact" which would exist alongside the existing fiscal pact, which is aimed at ensuring EU member states stick to their budget commitments.
"In 2013 we must see to it that over the next few years we also have a convergence in competitiveness within the common euro area."