German politicians defend export model

08:57, March 17, 2010      

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German politicians hit back Tuesday at French criticism of the German export juggernaut.

French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde said Monday that she doubts the German approach – "improving competitiveness, putting very high (downward) pressure on its labour costs" – was "a sustainable model for the long term and for the whole of the group."

In a rebuttal to his counterpart, German Economy Minister Rainer Bruederle told media that "for countries, which in the past have lived off entitlements and neglected their competitiveness, to point their finger at others is politically ... understandable, but still unfair" and noted that he interpreted Lagarde's advice "as an attempt to relieve the political strain."

Having a "friendly and trusting" working relationship with Lagarde, Berlin's finance minister Wolfgang Schaeuble expressed his point of view with a football game metaphor.
Schaeuble said he was a fan of German football giants Bayern Munich and they had played badly against French side Olympique Lyonnais.

"It would have been easier for Bayern if Lyon had played worse. But this is not how competition works. We need stron-ger competition in Europe."

EU commissioner Guenther Oettinger agreed.

"Europe faces tough competition ... we depend on our products being competitive. ... We need more reforms in Eu-rope, like those carried out in Germany. To turn back on such reforms would be to head in the wrong direction," Oettinger defended German exports as saying.

Source: Global Times
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