• Germany's news in English

Merkel tells Europe: work harder to stay rich

The Local · 17 Dec 2012, 16:09

Published: 17 Dec 2012 16:09 GMT+01:00

"If Europe today accounts for just over seven percent of the world's population, produces around 25 percent of global GDP (gross domestic product) and has to finance 50 percent of global social spending, then it's obvious that it will have to work very hard to maintain its prosperity and way of life," Merkel told the British Financial Times in an interview.

Europe will have to spend more on research and education and overhaul its tax and labour markets to restore competitiveness, she said. "All of us have to stop spending more than we earn every year."

The chancellor was unrepentant about implementing the policy of austerity measures in response to the euro debt crisis, and reiterated her determination to make contracts with EU partner countries to implement more structural reform.

Merkel also used the interview to explain why policy building takes a little longer in Germany, and why she is often reluctant to commit to a course of action until a consensus has been formed.

"Social cohesion is very important to people in Germany," she told the paper. "Our federal system means that in Germany competences are distributed between the federal level and the Länder [the 16 federal states].

"Although that sometimes makes politics arduous, it’s also one of our country’s strengths, namely the ability to find good solutions to problems, and for Germany, across party lines."

The Local/AFP/bk

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

16:26 December 17, 2012 by lucksi
Or, in other words, those with jobs will have to work harder or have to pay more taxes to fund the social system.
16:41 December 17, 2012 by raandy
Thats a great pep talk, but being rich isn't important to everyone.I would rather have enough for all the basics ,and not be in debt than work all the time have all the candy.
17:12 December 17, 2012 by analyzer
Merkel: work harder becoz people need to buy our cars and beers
18:35 December 17, 2012 by sonriete
well, Mr Van Rompuy has made clear with his roadmap toward greater intergration that the EU will definately be transformed into a transfer union, with euro bonds and all the rest, so why would club med work harder?

If their incomes rise it could jepoardize their future cohesion funds, they will of course work less hard now, with this new blueprint being revealed.

And we all know there will be no more democratic referendums on these matters, especially in the north, not after the insolent French and Dutch electorates voted no on the constitution.
20:40 December 17, 2012 by ChrisRea
@ raandy

Your point of view is in line with Merkel's. "All of us have to stop spending more than we earn every year." It is basically what the Fiscal Pact and the austerity measures are about. The title twisted a little what was actually said.
21:05 December 17, 2012 by smart2012
Sonriete, this statement applies to all Europe... incl. Germany. How cannot u see that Verkel is keeping covering her a.. Last year she said Germany can stay alone. Now that Germany is struggling she says Germany needs euro, and all needs to work harder.. Why did not she say this 1 year ago, instead if fueling silly nationalism?
22:35 December 17, 2012 by sonriete

I assume you're thinking of her statement and not mine, because you can bet there wil never be net transfers from other EU states to Germany as long as we are all alive. That is for sure.

When you consider that Germany remained a huge net contributer the whole while paying trillions of DM's and then euros for it's reunification, one cannot imagine any reason at all that we would ever have even a year or two as a net recipient.
23:43 December 17, 2012 by smart2012
Sonriete, u r not getting the point. Verkel says that tax payers will have to work harder, eg pension will move soon to 70 years old.

Btw, not going to reply to your BS on who pays more for Europe (France and Italy pay same as Germany), just to remind u that bankrupt nuerburing will be financed with eu money (so French and Italian will pay for it)..
00:22 December 18, 2012 by Berlin fuer alles

Are you really that dumb? ' you can bet there wil never be net transfers from other EU states to Germany'. Paying for the Euro by the rest of the Eurozone is more than any net transfer going to any other state.
00:35 December 18, 2012 by Leo Strauss
"Europe will have to work "very hard" to maintain its generous welfare system and remain competitive" XD That`s double plus good.

That`s right Outer Party Peeples. It`s not going to be easy with that Goldman-Sachs vampire squid sucking the lifeblood out of every single one of us in order to pay off that imaginary electronic black hole of debt, but if we want that extra ration of ersatz chocolate at the end of the month, then we`ll have to step it up!

Long Live Eurasia! Long Live the Party! Long Live the Banksters!
01:02 December 18, 2012 by Berlin fuer alles
Keep moving the goal posts Angie and keep us all chasing our way out of debt slavery. Your Banking buddies will surely smile favourable on you. You have half of Europe on its knees already. Remind me again why do we really need the Euro currency and why we should all thank you and your 'Deutschland über alles' banking buddies for imposing it on us?
08:04 December 18, 2012 by Gemhund
Great stuff! How about letting the shops be open on a Sunday, dunderhead.
08:29 December 18, 2012 by theibmsstate
Yes Europe rich countries should work hard because they have to pay for GREECE and other east Europe countries.
08:33 December 18, 2012 by Berlin fuer alles

Muppet BILD reader. Please read my post at #9 and try thinking for yourself for a change.
10:48 December 18, 2012 by smart2012
berlin fur alles, when u come to munich give me a shout and lets meet up, i like your thinking :-)
13:10 December 19, 2012 by grinners

Working hard to stay rich.

Firstly, let's assume we're all rich (ok, ahhhhh. bugger it, let's go shopping) ok, so now we're there.

Secondly, that we need to work hard to stay there. (damn it, I can't go shopping, i have to do some more overtime, awwwww).
Today's headlines
Activists love-bomb NSA with 'quit spying' drone
The entrance to the Dagger Complex in Darmstadt. Photo: DPA

Activists love-bomb NSA with 'quit spying' drone

7 hours ago

An anti-spying organisation used a drone to drop leaflets over an NSA complex in southern Germany last week, hoping to persuade spooks to choose another line of work.

Greenpeace mulls jump into brown coal biz
Photo: DPA.

Greenpeace mulls jump into brown coal biz

7 hours ago

It might sound like one of the environmental group's protest stunts, but Greenpeace insists it really does want to buy up a series of German brown coal mines and plants offered for sale by Swedish power company Vattenfall.

Volkswagen scandal
VW 'will need bigger cash pile to pay fines'
VW boss Matthias Müller speaking to the press on September 25th. Photo: DPA

VW 'will need bigger cash pile to pay fines'

7 hours ago

The new chief of scandal-hit Volkswagen braced his workforce for tough times ahead on Tuesday, admitting that billions laid aside for fines and damages arising from a massive pollution cheating scam will not be enough.

Rare whale makes home in north German bay
The North Atlantic beaked whale. Photo: DPA

Rare whale makes home in north German bay

8 hours ago

A beaked whale has made itself a home of the Baltic coast of Germany, an unusual location for the Atlantic mammal. Now conservationists are trying to get him out deeper into the Baltic.

Munich bomb 'can't be defused on scene'
Aircraft in the air and space hall of the Deutsches Museum in Munich. Photo: DPA

Munich bomb 'can't be defused on scene'

11 hours ago

UPDATE: Police in Munich say that a bomb found in the Deutsches Museum must be moved to a safe location on Tuesday evening before experts can defuse it.

Johann the pig's udderly adorable new family
Johann found love among the herd in Göttingen. Photo: DPA.

Johann the pig's udderly adorable new family

9 hours ago

For one plucky pig in Lower Saxony, mingling with his own species just didn't appeal. The wild hog decided to make friends in higher places – by joining a herd of cows on a Göttingen farm.

Klopp to LIverpool
Can Klopp breath life back into the Liver bird?
Jürgen Klopp. Photo: DPA

Can Klopp breath life back into the Liver bird?

12 hours ago

Liverpool FC are a club with great history who have been mired in mediocrity for years. Is Germany's favourite coach the man to come to their rescue?

Hitler actor warns of threat to democracy
Oliver Massuci in costume as Hitler stretches a fist out over Berlin. Photo: Constantin Film Verleih GmbH/DPA

Hitler actor warns of threat to democracy

12 hours ago

Oliver Masucci, the actor who plays Hitler in satirical film Er Ist Wieder Da (Look Who's Back), told ARD news on Monday that Germany must be careful to safeguard its democracy after a barrage of far-right comments from ordinary people.

Refugee crisis
Four-fifths of Germans want border controls
A conference hall in Brandenburg set up as temporary refugee accommodation. Photo: DPA

Four-fifths of Germans want border controls

14 hours ago

Four-fifths of respondents told pollsters that they were in favour of border controls in a new survey released on Monday.

Klopp 'offered 3 year Liverpool deal': reports
Photo: DPA

Klopp 'offered 3 year Liverpool deal': reports

15 hours ago

Liverpool FC bosses have opened negotiations with former Borussia Dortmund manager Jürgen Klopp and are confident of bringing him aboard, British media reported on Tuesday.

Are the German public too happy to see Hitler?
Government blocks plans for Berlin 'cannabis cafes'
'Der Klassiker': no classic at all for Dortmund
Dortmund fans' bad behaviour in Thessaloniki
UK Ambassador wants more young Brits in Germany
How Snoop Dogg dissed Munich hip hop scene
More wind power generated so far in 2015 than all of 2014
Rent a nuclear bunker near Berlin for just €3,000 a month
German universities leap up world elite rankings
Business & Money
What to do if you own a cheating Volkswagen
Homeland star's fave Berlin spot is Berghain
Why Dresden Buddhists won't be using the swastika symbol
Mystery of 'murdered' student found alive after 31 years
What wearable technology might look like in the future
Why vegetarian food is more German than a Bratwurst
The very best of traditional German vegetarian food
The secret to more travel for less
The first glimpse of Neptune - from an observatory in Berlin
How VW was rebuilt from nothing... by an English army officer
Our favourite songs about Germany by foreigners
Expats' loves and hates about Germany
Court thinks Sphynx cats are too weird to be allowed to breed
Business & Money
What do cars mean to the Germans?
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd