Germany: old myths and modern nightmares

Feb 14 2005 by Brian Amble Print This Article

Thomas Kielinger, London correspondent for German daily newspaper Die Welt, says on BBC Online that the old clichés about German efficiency and hard work are just that – old and outdated.

Germany, he points out, has the youngest old-age pensioners, the oldest students, the shortest working hours and the longest holidays.

That does not add up to a case of economic dynamism.

What Germany is facing today he continues, is a mountain of unsolved problems, with a reform agenda put off for far too long.

"In Germany people are so worried about the future and the job situation that everybody hunkers down to the point where spending has almost come to a standstill."

In contrast, Britain's rejection of the European model of paternalistic socialism model "leaves it racing ahead to overtake most of its European rivals in economic growth, employment and gross national income. "

"I even suspect that British people walk twice as fast as their German counterparts.

They speak twice as fast too. And they work twice as hard again as the Germans."

BBC Online | Europe's stereotypes need rethinking