• Germany's news in English

Business groups blast sluggish pace of reform

The Local · 3 Mar 2010, 08:25

Published: 03 Mar 2010 08:25 GMT+01:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Anton Börner, the president of the German Federation of Foreign Trade (BGA), called on the government to settle its internal quarrels and get to work on the reforms promised by her coalition of conservative Christian Democrats and pro-business Free Democrats after last September's election.

“The coalition should finally get to work, rather than continuing with this childishness,” he told daily Die Welt.

The president of the Association of Family Businesses, Patrick Adenauer, also attacked the government, telling the same paper the government had lost touch with its core constituency.

“Barely has a member of the government developed an idea, and it’s been put down in the coalition," he said. "You can’t communicate reliability that way to the people or to businesses.”

The government has been beset lately by public disagreements over policy and political style in key areas including the economy, welfare, health and the war in Afghanistan.

The criticisms will be particularly worrying to Foreign Minister and Vice Chancellor Guido Westerwelle’s Free Democrats, who count business as their power base.

The latest attacks follow similarly harsh remarks from Hans-Peter Keitel, the head of the Federation of German Industries (BDI) on Tuesday.

“Five months after the election, disorientation reigns over us,” he told Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. “We have lost momentum in Germany. That didn’t have to happen. The government itself knows that it has not performed optimally – indeed carelessly – in a variety of areas, which could have gone better with proper attention.”

Keitel, who speaks for a massive slice of German industry, also took a swipe at Westerwelle's recent political gamble on welfare, in which he has tried to invigorate his core supporters with rhetorical body blows against Germany’s Hartz IV system of unemployment benefits.

“One must not, when under pressure from opinion polls, fly into a populist corner. The issue has in the meantime arguably trapped the chancellor,” he said.

The BGA’s Börner added that the government should get back on track by following the principle of “more market rather than more state.”

Story continues below…

“We can’t continue to swell the social state as before," he said. "We need more individual responsibility.”

Responding to the latest attacks, CDU member of parliament Michael Fuchs acknowledged some of the criticism was justified.

“The criticism from businesses worries me greatly,” he said.

The coalition should in future resolve its differences in private, behind closed doors, rather than constantly sniping in public, he said.

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

13:05 March 3, 2010 by michael4096
The criticisms will be particularly worrying to Foreign Minister and Vice Chancellor Guido Westerwelle¦#39;s Free Democrats, who count business as th…
Perhaps, they should stop spending their time earning extra cash and creating clever sound-bites to see their name in headlines and get on with what they are paid to do.
Today's headlines
German hospital uses therapy to 'treat' paedophiles
A poster from the campaigne "Don't offend", which offers therapy to paedophiles. The sign reads "Do you love kids more than you'd prefer? There's help." Photo: DB Scholz & Friends / DPA.

A unique German initiative is offering therapy to paedophiles to control their urges, with the aim of getting them help before they offend.

Minister: 'no tolerance' for clowns after chainsaw attack
Photo: DPA

Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière has called for a zero-tolerance approach to 'killer clowns' after a series of attacks culminating in two teenagers being chased by a clown wielding a chainsaw.

Baby who was auctioned on eBay taken away from father
Photo: DPA.

A German court ruled on Thursday that a man who put his one-month-old baby up for sale on the online auction platform eBay should only be allowed contact with the child under supervision.

Portugal's ruling party calls German minister 'pyromaniac'
Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble. Photo: DPA.

The head of Portugal's ruling Socialists called German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble a "pyromaniac" on Thursday after he criticized Lisbon for reversing course on austerity.

These are Germany's top ten universities
The new library of Freiburg University. Photo: Jörgens.mi / Wikimedia Commons

These are the best universities in all of Germany - at least according to one ranking.

Introducing Swabians - 'the Scots of Germany'
Photo: DPA

These Southern Germans have quite a reputation in the rest of the country.

Woman sues dentist over job rejection for headscarf
Photo: DPA

A dentist in Stuttgart is being taken to court by a woman whom he rejected for a job as his assistant on the basis that she wears a Muslim headscarf.

Isis suspect charged with scouting Berlin attack sites
Photo: DPA

German federal prosecutors said Thursday they had brought charges against a 19-year-old Syrian man accused of having scouted targets in Berlin for a potential attack by the Isis terror group.

Berlin Holocaust memorial could not be built now: creator
The Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, in Berlin. Photo: DPA.

The architect of the Berlin Holocaust memorial has said that, if he tried to build the monument again today, it would not be possible due to rising xenophobia and anti-Semitism in Germany and the United States.

'Liberal' Germany stopping Europe's 'slide into barbarism'
Ian Kershaw. Photo: DPA

Europe is not slipping into the same dark tunnel of hate and nationalism that it did in the 1930s - mainly thanks to Germany - one of the continent's leading historians has said.

10 German clichés that foreigners get very wrong
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
10 ways German completely messes up your English
Germany's 10 most weird and wonderful landmarks
10 things you never knew about socialist East Germany
How Germans fell in love with America's favourite squash
How I ditched London for Berlin and became a published author
12 clever German idioms that'll make you sound like a pro
23 fascinating facts you never knew about Berlin
9 unmissable events to check out in Germany this October
10 things you never knew about German reunification
10 things you're sure to notice after an Oktoberfest visit
Germany's 10 most Instagram-able places
15 pics that prove Germany is absolutely enchanting in autumn
10 German films you have to watch before you die
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd