EU jobs chief: wages should rise in Germany

EU jobs chief: wages should rise in Germany
Photo: DPA
German wages should rise to increase domestic demand and stop the export-heavy, low-wage economy drifting away from its partners in the eurozone, the European Commissioner for Employment said.

Laszlo Andor told Monday’s Süddeutsche Zeitung newspaper he would recommend Germany introduces a wide-reaching minimum wage.

“Belgium and France are already complaining about German low wages,” he said. Such a situation was not justifiable in the light of high German exports, he added.

Countries with export surpluses had to get in line with European norms, just as those with deficits had to, said the Hungarian economist whose European Commission responsibilities include employment, social affairs and inclusion.

“If not, the currency union will drift apart. The cohesion is already half lost,” he told the paper.

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Germany has long been criticized for its low wage policies, with a number of politicians from economically weaker countries calling for higher domestic German demand to aid the eurozone in general.

But the German Bundesbank repeated in February its warnings against wages rising too dramatically. If they were to increase more strongly than productivity allows, companies would have to cut jobs and invest less as a result.

Strong wage increases would only fuel domestic consumer demand for a short period, the Bundesbank argued, while real income and private consumption would drop over a longer period, damaging the economy as a whole.

The Local/hc

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