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On the same subject, the main centre-left daily Süddeutsche Zeizung (short SZ) doesn't mention the suffering of the people, but dissects the lies:

Merkel: Kritik an verschuldeten Euroländern - Ausflug ins Populistische - Geld - sueddeutsche.de Merkel: Criticism of indebted Euro countries - Excursion into populism - Money - sueddeutsche.de
...Merkels Anregungen haben ein Problem: Sie sind arg populistisch. Gesetzlich festgelegt sind in Deutschland mindestens 20 Tage Urlaub - weniger gibt es in der Europäischen Union nirgendwo. Allerdings stehen vertraglich den meisten Beschäftigten 25 bis 30 Urlaubstage zu, wie Umfragen zeigen....Merkel's comments have one problem: they are terribly populistic. In Germany, laws prescribe at least 20 days vacation - nowhere in the fEuropean Union is it lower. However, for most employees, 25-30 vacation days are contractually guaranteed, as shown by polls.
Mit ihren Aussagen lässt Merkel allerdings die Interpretation zu, dass es in den kriselnden Euro-Ländern erheblich mehr Urlaub gebe, und das trifft so nicht zu. In Griechenland sind gesetzlich 25 Tage vorgeschrieben, in Portugal und Spanien jeweils 22 und in Irland 20 - so viele wie in Deutschland. Andererseits sind es ausgerechnet so vielgelobte Volkswirtschaften wie Finnland oder solche EU-Kernländer wie Frankreich, wo der Gesetzgeber die größte Zahl an Urlaubstagen ermöglicht (jeweils 30).Merkel's statements, however, allow for the interpretation that there is considerably vacation in the ailing Euro countries, and that is not so. In Greece, 25 days are legally required, 22 in both Portugal and Spain, and 20 in Ireland - as many as in Germany. On the other hand, it is just highly lauded economies such like Finland or core EU countries such as France where the legislature allows for the highest number of vacation days (both 30).
...Auch beim Renteneintrittsalter schwingt bei Merkel eine Propagandahaltung mit, die man schon für überholt glaubte. Der Satz "Bisher betrug das Renteneintrittsalter 65 Jahre, doch im Zuge einer langen Diskussion ist es kürzlich auf 67 angehoben worden" trifft auf Deutschland zu - aber auch auf das von Merkel kritisierte Spanien.... On the issue of retirement age, too, there is a propaganda undercurrent in Merkel's talk which one would have believed to have become outdated. The sentence "In the past the retirement age was 65 years, but in the course of a long discussion it has been recently raised to 67" is true for Germany - but also for Merkel-criticised Spain.
In Portugal liegt es bei 65, in Griechenland neuerdings ebenso. In Athen laufen gerade im Zuge des Sparpaktes die Bemühungen, nicht nur das gesetzliche, sondern auch das tatsächliche Renteneintrittsalter anzuheben: von derzeit 61,3 auf 63,5, was in etwa den deutschen Zahlen entspricht. Und in Irland, das vor einigen Wochen unter den Rettungsschirm schlüpfte, wurde das Renteneintrittsalter sogar auf 68 angehoben.It is 65 in Portugal, lately in Greece as well. In Athens, just now in the wake of the savings pact, efforts are on-going to raise not only to raise legal but also the actual retirement age: from the current 61.3 to 63.5, which is similar to the German figure. And in Ireland, which slipped under the rescue umbrella a few weeks ago, the retirement age was increased even to 68.

SZ also quotes the Spanish government reaction. As for why Merkel went right-populist, SZ thinks it is because of the threat to government majority in parliament by rebels who'd vote against another rescue package for Greece (as quoted in an earlier thread, SZ knows about 14 FDP and 5 CDU/CSU potential rebels, only two more would force Merkel into damaging her authority by relying on SPD and Green votes; SZ also quotes again an FDP guy still fuming about the FDP-pursued tax cuts), but doubts that such talk will convince the rebels.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Fri May 20th, 2011 at 10:41:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
As for why Merkel went right-populist, SZ thinks it is because of the threat to government majority in parliament by rebels who'd vote against another rescue package for Greece

How does it make sense, then, for Merkel to propagate xenophobic clichés against the supposed recipients of the "rescue"? That's just likely to strengthen the resolve of the rebels within the CDU/FDP majority as they can now expect the public to support them.

Unless Merkel is framing it as "we want to force those lazies to reform and the only way to do it is with the carrot of a rescue". Is she?

Economics is politics by other means

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon May 23rd, 2011 at 05:14:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Paraphrased, Merkel didn't say 'Southerners are lazy', she said 'Southerners, stop being lazy if you want our tax money'. So no carrot there, this is the pretence of a stick (a rhetorical stick in the imaginary right-wing framing of the situation, unrelated to the actual stick). Whether this will work on the rebels, in particular on the more numerous FDP rebels (who still believe only tax cuts will boost their poll numbers and feel existential angst even more after their party dropped from yet another regional parliament), is questionable. Merkel is likely to achieve more with standard fall-in-line-or-else appeals to conservative submission to authority. Which again underlines the fact that Merkel will risk sowing the seeds of hatred in millions and make big strategic and policy sacrifices for the most insignificant of political position power gains.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Mon May 23rd, 2011 at 10:31:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I should add: in the meantime, Merkel upped the ante. Her spokesman reacted to opposition criticism by insisting that what she said wasn't campaign rhetoric but a serious proposal (at a local party event?...). And also declared that 'Everyone in Europe has to put in effort to remain globally competitive, Germans too' – so 'reforms' will continue domestically, too?

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Mon May 23rd, 2011 at 11:02:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]


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