23 March 2004
BERLIN – Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder has described as “unpatriotic” a rush by German companies to set up factories in eastern Europe and other regions where payroll costs are lower.
Government spokesman Bela Anda appealed to businesses to think of their “responsibility to Germany”.
Anda said that in a discussion with aides, the chancellor had used the words “unpatriotic act” to describe advocacy of low-cost foreign plants by the head of the German Chamber of Industry and Trade (DIHK), Ludwig Georg Braun.
In the Berlin newspaper Tagesspiegel, Braun was quoted saying, “I counsel companies not to wait for better policies, but to take action, and exploit the opportunities like that offered by the expansion of the European Union.”
On 1 May Poland, the Czech Republic and other eastern neighbours join the EU.
German business leaders have been quietly approving in the past of Schroeder’s economic reform policies, but have lost patience as Schroeder has watered down the changes in a bid to shore up his waning popularity.
Subject: German news