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Merkel tells Germans to work harder too

The Local · 22 May 2011, 12:40

Published: 22 May 2011 12:40 GMT+02:00

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According to a report in news magazine Der Spiegel, Merkel has now called on her own compatriots to work a little harder too, after she caused a stir by criticising working hours in Greece, Spain and Portugal.

"The Chancellor has always made clear that everyone in Europe needs to make an effort to be more efficient and more competitive by global standards," government spokesman Steffen Seibert said.

In the light of the eurozone financial crisis and the billions of euros of aid being paid out by Germany, Merkel said on Tuesday evening her reservations were not only about the need to avoid increasing debt.

“It is also about not being able to retire earlier in countries like Greece, Spain, Portugal than in Germany. Instead everyone should try to make the same efforts – that is important,” she said at a political event for her conservative Christian Democrats in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia.

She also criticised the number of holidays enjoyed in certain southern nations. "We can't have a single currency where some get a lot of holidays and the others very little. That won't work in the long term," she said.

Greek, Spanish and Portuguese members of the European parliament expressed outrage at the comments.

Story continues below…


The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

12:51 May 22, 2011 by FIUMAN
Oh, Angie, I used to love you....What have you turned into?
16:01 May 22, 2011 by annan1063
Greece, Spain and Portugal should not be offended by the truth. The smartest thing Germany could do is opt out of the EU and return to the D Mark and let the rest of these lame countries fend for themselves. Germany will eventually get tired of holding up the rest of EU..
16:27 May 22, 2011 by agarwaen

It not only isn't the truth, it's the exact opposite of the truth. Germans work way less than workers in Greece and Spain, but produce much more per hour of work:

17:23 May 22, 2011 by ovalle3.14
Shouldn't this lady be in the kitchen?
18:31 May 22, 2011 by MJMH
Given the choice I think most Europeans are tired of the EU and all the recently passed laws most people never got to vote on. It's becoming more obvious everyday that the majority want their countries back from the EU, immigrants and the left.

The EU should go back to the days of the EEC.
19:35 May 22, 2011 by Al uk
MJMH's above post is bang on the mark (no pun intended)
10:57 May 23, 2011 by michael4096
"It's becoming more obvious everyday that the majority want their countries back from the EU"

It's not obvious at all. People certainly seem to be looking more locally but, to country? Why not a länder view? After all, bavarians are firstly bavarians.

The concept of the country in Europe is really a political one that has developed over the last few centuries. It has little to do with people. Every country has its tensions: the scots, catalans, northern italians, flems... If people were given the choice between rolling back to the 19th/20th century country borders or splitting into smaller fragments with roots further back - which could only happen under a regional EU umbrella - they could very easily choose the latter.

A new war of the roses, anyone?
11:10 May 23, 2011 by ame64
The EU is a flop.

It´s only costing us billions of Euros. Our hard earned money is simply wasted on the stupid EU concept.

Also the way the EU courts tell us what to do and not waht to do is a disgrace.

The good old DM was stable and you simply got more value from it, now what doyou get from the Euro?? Less wages and more expenses.

The EU was a nice idea, but not practicle.
16:17 May 23, 2011 by jmclewis
I feel the same about Angie..... agree with ame64, michael4096, MJMH, ovale 3.14,anan1063, FIUMAN.....

The problem with the EU is the politicians are too far from the people, German's know what is better for Germany than the Aristocratic Asses in Brussels!
11:20 May 24, 2011 by Gilly58
Hey folks, I fear that it is a bit to late to start whinging and ticking now as there is no political u-turn mechanism in place and far to much of you're hard earned Euro's have already dissapeared into the 'EU Black hole' so settle down and enjoy the rest of the rolercoaster ride, watching out for Greece and the domino effect it will have on you.
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