Germany last in EU under Schroeder, says CDU chief

6th December 2004, Comments 0 comments

6 December 2004, DUESSELDORF - The leader of Germany's opposition Christian Democrats, Angela Merkel, on Monday slammed Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder for policies that condemned the country to last position in terms of economic growth in the European Union. Merkel, the likely conservative challenger to Schroeder in Germany's 2006 general election, said the government was responsible for economic stagnation and unemployment stuck at over 10 percent and rising for the past three years. Germany now had a lower

6 December 2004

DUESSELDORF - The leader of Germany's opposition Christian Democrats, Angela Merkel, on Monday slammed Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder for policies that condemned the country to last position in terms of economic growth in the European Union.

Merkel, the likely conservative challenger to Schroeder in Germany's 2006 general election, said the government was responsible for economic stagnation and unemployment stuck at over 10 percent and rising for the past three years.

Germany now had a lower rate of GDP growth than all 24 other European Union (EU) member states, said Merkel.

"I am fed up with reading that we are the sick man of Europe," said Merkel in speech at a Christian Democratic Union (CDU) congress which is expected to reelect her as party leader with an overwhelming majority.

Merkel, who hails from former communist East Germany, said when she travels abroad, the questions reminded her of the old days when she was only allowed to visit the East Bloc.

"I don't want to travel and keep hearing 'what in the world is the matter with Germany'," she said.

Merkel said Germany would have to ditch many of its comfortable policies, especially inflexible labour laws, to prevent jobs from being exported to eastern Europe.

Schroeder's claims that Germany now has the most flexible labour force in the EU were dismissed by Merkel as "lies". Schroeder's left-leaning government is a coalition of his Social Democrats (SPD) and the Greens.

Germany also needed more competition in its public health insurance system and a radically simplified tax law, said Merkel.

New government regulations were blocking the key gene technology and the chemicals sectors in Germany, warned Merkel.

She promised that if elected, her party's goal was to make Germany one of the top three economies in the EU for growth and low rates of unemployment within a decade.

"We will do things fundamentally differently so that things get fundamentally better," vowed Merkel.

DPA

Subject: German news

0 Comments To This Article