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Statement from the “New York Times”: US publication criticizes: “Germany is experiencing an economic standstill”

“Hopefully Germany will also put as much effort into reviving its economy” – the incident involving Arnold Schwarzenegger, who was held and questioned for three hours at Munich Airport due to a costly wristwatch, caused a lot of ridicule in the US tabloid press.

Questioning whether German authorities had nothing better to do, the “New York Post” joked, “We hope that next time he doesn’t have to pay taxes on the suit he’s wearing.”

Reports of customs officials failing to operate a credit card machine for Schwarzenegger to pay the entry tax for his watch also elicited ridicule from gossip portals.

Former “Industrial Powerhouse” struggles with stagnation and lack of competitiveness

While the incident involving the Hollywood star and the Munich customs officials garnered less attention in other media, the German economic situation does attract great interest here.

“Germany, once the driving force, is experiencing an economic standstill,” was the headline in the “New York Times” (NYT) on Thursday. Under the headline, it stated: “The German economy shrank by 0.3 percent last year, showing the worst performance of all 20 countries using the Euro.”

Only Argentina among the G20 nations faces a bleaker economic forecast, American readers are informed. (Editor’s note: The “Group of Twenty” includes the world’s major industrial and emerging economies, as well as the EU.)

Since the reconstruction after World War II, Germany has been the largest driving force of the economy in Europe, according to the NYT: “an industrial powerhouse, world-renowned for its huge factories and optimized engineering.”

However, German automakers now have to compete with cheap electric cars from China. And with the USA, there is a competition to attract tech giants. The conclusion: “Germany has failed to sufficiently modernize its industry with flexibility and digital know-how to remain competitive.”

19th-century bureaucracy

The “New York Times” further criticizes: The German industrial sector is not only struggling with high energy costs, but also with the transition to an increasingly agile and digital future.

According to the report, German bureaucracy dates back to 19th century Prussia. Paper is still the norm. German companies have a hard time with that.

US readers also learn that the German digital infrastructure appears to lag behind the rest of the EU. On average, 56 percent of all homes in Europe are connected to the fiber optic network – in Germany, it’s only 19 percent.

The protests by farmers against the Berlin government were also closely followed in US media. “What have we learned from this?” asked the “Wall Street Journal” (WSJ) in a leading article last week.

“A lesson for the climate-obsessed left is that both sides can play this game,” was the response from the business newspaper.Europa wurde in den letzten Jahren förmlich von einer “Flut von aggressiven Öko-Protesten” überrollt – insbesondere von deutschen Klimaaktivisten. Das Wall Street Journal kommentiert: “Nun, wenn diese die neuen Spielregeln sind, dann ist es äußerst hilfreich, einen Traktor zu besitzen.”

Derart risikoscheu sind die Deutschen jedoch laut einem Bericht der New York Times nicht. Es besteht Hoffnung, dass sie auf Schwierigkeiten und Herausforderungen schnell reagieren können. Als Russland im Jahr 2022 die Gaslieferungen drosselte, genehmigte die Regierung sofort den Bau zahlreicher Flüssigerdgasterminals.“

Die Effizienz, mit der dies geschah, verdient Bewunderung: “Innerhalb weniger Monate konnte Deutschland seine Gasspeicher bis zum Rand füllen.”

Eine weitere Quelle der Hoffnung sind umweltfreundliche Technikunternehmen. Der Ökonom Sander Tordoir wird von der NYT dazu zitiert: “Deutsche müssen lediglich darüber nachdenken, welche Art von Wirtschaft sie möchten.”

Die Deutschen sind so äußerst risikoscheu, dass es beinahe schon einen psychologischen Aspekt hat. Aber wenn es ihnen gelingt, einige Regulierungen abzubauen und sich aus ihrer finanziellen Zwangsjacke zu befreien, dann gibt es ein enormes Potenzial für die deutsche Wirtschaft.

(Surftipp: Gastkommentar von Martin Limbeck – Wenn wir nicht aufpassen, sind wir bald selbst Entwicklungsland)

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