Work more, play less, Merkel tells southern Europe: report

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German Chancellor Angela Merkel has responded to voter anger about eurozone bailouts by saying that people in southern Europe should retire later and take fewer holidays, press reports said on Wednesday.

"(People) in countries like Greece, Spain and Portugal should not retire earlier than in Germany. We should all make the same efforts, this is important," the German press agency DPA cited Merkel as saying late on Tuesday.

Merkel, who has come under fire for agreeing the bailouts worth tens of billions of euros (dollars) for Greece, Ireland and Portugal, also said that differences in holiday rules within Europe should be ironed out.

"We cannot have a currency (the euro) with one person getting lots of holiday and another person very little. Long term this can't work," the 56-year-old was quoted as saying at a party event in Meschede, western Germany.

Germany is in the process of raising its retirement age from 65 to 67 as it seeks to bring down its budget deficit, which the government forecasts will be within EU limits this year, helped by strong growth.

As Europe's biggest economy it has been the biggest contributor to recent bailouts.

© 2011 AFP

2 Comments To This Article

  • Dane posted:

    on 18th May 2011, 15:25:06 - Reply

    People in Spain DOES NOT retire earlier than in Germany.(retirement age in Spain, 65 raising to 67) In fact, if she wants to tell someone to make a bigger effort, look at France (30 days holiday) Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Austria (25 days holiday) UK (28 days holiday). People retires 50 to 60 in France. Mrs Merkel, do your homework, We all know you talk for your voters, but racism and cliches are not good. If it is such a burden for Germany to stay in the EU, just leave it.. ah, no, it is actually GOOD for Germany to be there!!
  • pnb posted:

    on 18th May 2011, 15:10:03 - Reply

    Why, madam, you are absolutelky right when you say "We cannot have a (common) currency and one gets lots of holiday and the other very little. That does not fit together in the long term". That's indeed discrimination at best! While you're at it, please update the Portuguese minimum wages to German standards, would you? We would very much appreciate it. You see, minimum wage in Portugal is 470 euros/month. I'm sure anyone earning minimum wage in Portugal will have a few doubts about giving up a couple of days holidays or retiring later and would likely tell you to shove your autocracy where the sun doesn't shine.