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CDU MP calls France Europe's 'problem child'
Photo: DPA

CDU MP calls France Europe's 'problem child'

Published: 23 Feb 2013 08:46 GMT+01:00
Updated: 23 Feb 2013 08:46 GMT+01:00

A leading member of German Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives said Friday that France was a "problem child" in the eurozone and must scrap its 35-hour work week as well as push back its retirement age.

"The French must save to become more capable of acting. They must of course also make economic reforms," Michael Fuchs, deputy chairman of the Christian Democrats' parliamentary group told public radio.

"They must change the working hours. You know that the French still have the 35-hour week. That can't work when in Switzerland people work 42 hours, in Germany 40 hours," he complained on Deutschlandfunk radio.

He was speaking before the European Commission announced that France's public deficit was set to be worse than expected in 2013 and 2014, veering up to 3.7 percent of output this year and 3.9 percent next year.

The EU sets a ceiling of 3.0 percent of output.

France's wages and work ethic have been under the international spotlight this week after the head of US tyremaker Titan, Maurice Taylor, mocked French workers for putting in only "three hours" a day, prompting a sharp retort from Paris.

Fuchs also criticised France on its pensions policy. "It's simply necessary for people to work longer. You cannot retire at 60, that doesn't work any more. The French must consider that," he added.

"Unfortunately France is a problem child in the euro, since other countries have done their homework substantially more intensively. Spain, also Italy under (outgoing Premier Mario) Monti...," he said.

"The whole eurozone must be internationally competitive. And there, the French are far behind."

Asked to comment on France's public deficit, Merkel's spokesman Steffen Seibert said it was not for the German government to assess but that states must do their homework to win back confidence in Europe.

"The chancellor has always made clear that in her opinion the crisis is not over. We have achieved much... There is still much to achieve," Seibert told a regular government news conference.

AFP/mw

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

12:54 February 23, 2013 by lenny van
If the French increase the work week to 40 or 42 hours, then there will be 15 to 20% more unemployed people who will qualify to receive benefits. The rest of Europe should share the work that the robots and computers have left us. Work sharing and investing the savings on the reduced unemployments and welfare benefits is the answer to the unemployment problem in Europe,
13:34 February 23, 2013 by Englishted
"More Europe doesn't mean in Germany, a German Europe. More Europe for us means, a European Germany," Gauck said

Somebody is bullshining which one is it?
17:40 February 23, 2013 by melbournite
this is completely beside the point. The economic crisis was caused by bankers greed and gvt complicity, not by official working hours. Greeks work far longer than Germans and look what the crisis is doing to them
20:13 February 23, 2013 by chicagolive
For me everybody works for longer than Germans. If it is not machine work, working is not a care for people here people just sit around and pretend to work.
05:30 February 24, 2013 by knowthyenemy
France is facing a DYSGENICS crisis: Many low IQ, 3rd world immigrants have poured into France and have created huge crime waves and racial tension.

Low IQ = less productivity and high crime rates. You can't maintain a 1st world nation with 3rd world immigration.
08:23 February 24, 2013 by Bigfoot76
It is also Extremely unhelpful that the US continually tries to convince people that Europe is in much worse shape than we actually are. It is a hard pill for them to swallow that we could stand a crisis better than the US. Are there problems here? Yes, but not to the degree the US wants everyone to believe.
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