Merkel aims to reform and drive Europe forward

26th January 2006, Comments 0 comments

26 January 2006, DAVOS - German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Wednesday vowed that her country would help Europe reform and drive it forward to become the most dynamic continent in the world despite strong competition from Asia.

26 January 2006

DAVOS - German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Wednesday vowed that her country would help Europe reform and drive it forward to become the most dynamic continent in the world despite strong competition from Asia.

"I want people to look back at this time in Europe and say 'It was a time of ideas'," she said during her opening speech at the World Economic Forum's Annual Meeting in Davos. "Of course, China and India have the same opportunities, but we must face up to the competition."

Merkel laid out her vision of a strong Germany that has overcame the problems of high unemployment and has developed strong growth, something she felt was important for Europe.

The chancellor looked forward to Germany's presidency of the G8 - which begins on January 1 next year - and laid out her plans for this role.

"During our presidency we will be able to harness the power of Europe and develop it," she said.

Merkel said that removing excess bureaucracy and piracy would be among Germany's targets once they led the group of powerful nations.

The chancellor also said that the concept of social market economy had to be rethought and developed.

"The world has changed and we need to bear in mind the international dimension," she said.

"Twenty per cent of the world consumes 70 per cent of its energy. Billions live on one dollar a day. China is growing," she continued. "What framework does modern society need?"

"If we can't find a conclusive answer, serious social disorder and trouble may develop, and we would be responsible," she said.

Merkel pointed out that people had lost their trust in politicians to shape globalization, and referred to the problems faced by the World Trade Organization, whose meetings are plagued by anti- globalization demonstrators.

Nonetheless, she said she believed free trade was the way forward.

"The WTO is important as free trade is needed for all, including the new countries -who should be allowed to take part," she said.

"Development is important to us, and Germany will devote 0.7 percent of GDP to development by 2007," she said.

DPA

Subject: German news

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