German Chancellor Angela Merkel has warned that the economic climate will still deteriorate, contradicting her finance minister, who last week claimed that the worst of the eurozone crisis was over. In her new year TV address, Merkel called on Germans to be patient, despite the debt crisis now entering its fourth year. “In fact, the economic situation next year will not be easier but more difficult. But this should not discourage us but instead be an incentive,” said Merkel. Meanwhile, her main challenger for the chancellorship in next September’s election appears to have hit a bum note after suggesting that German politicians are underpaid. Head of the Social Democrats Peer Steinbruck says the directors of small regional banks earn more than the Chancellor. His comments have even been slammed by those in his own party as inappropriate in a time of austerity. Steinbruck has already been criticised after it was revealed he earned 1.25 million euros on the after-dinner speaking circuit over the past three years.