Almost 20 years ago, Germany overcame its reputation as the “Sick Man of Europe” with a package of ambitious labor market reforms that unleashed its industrial potential and ushered in a sustained period of prosperity, fueled in particular by strong demand for machinery and automobiles from China. While Germany disappointed many partners because it exported far more than it bought, its economy flourished.
However, the boom years have their price: the economic strength led those responsible to a false sense of security. Their failure to implement further reforms is now taking its toll. Suddenly, a storm is brewing over the former European powerhouse, suggesting that the current recession is not just “technical” as many politicians are hoping, but rather a harbinger of a fundamental reversal in economic fortunes that threatens to rock the whole of Europe and could add further turmoil to the continent’s already polarized political landscape.
In this major analysis, US journalist Matthew Karnitschnig, head of the German edition of “Politico” (like WELT, belongs to Axel Springer SE), ruthlessly and in detail describes the weaknesses of Germany as a business location.