Germany Draws Up Growth Proposals for EU

Berlin urged its EU partners to 'put in place conditions that are favorable to business activity, speed up the privatization of state companies and reform their labor markets.'

The German Economy Ministry has drawn up a growth plan for Europe in which it urges its fellow EU members to "harness the potential of the single market" while pressing ahead with structural reforms.

Berlin hopes to present the eight-page document to its EU partners at a meeting at the end of the month, while other countries such as France are calling for economic stimulus measures.

Fiscal orthodoxy and economic growth are "two sides of the same coin," the document says, using a phrase which Chancellor Angela Merkel has repeated time and again in recent weeks.

"Sustainable growth cannot be bought with public spending programs, nor with state intervention or a monetary policy that is excessively lax," the text states.

Germany's proposals essentially comprise suggestions for reforms to be implemented by the countries themselves and calls for better utilization of resources and of existing European mechanisms.

Berlin urged its EU partners to "put in place conditions that are favorable to business activity, speed up the privatization of state companies and reform their labor markets."

At a European level, "the labor market and employment training must become more transparent," it said.

More generally, Germany called upon member countries to "continue to exploit the potential of the single market," for example in the areas of power networks, online trade and the construction of broadband networks.

The ministry also called for a "better utilization of European funds" to boost competitiveness and said the capital of the European Investment Bank could be increased by 10 billion euros (US$12.5 billion) which would target infrastructure products.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2012

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