Tue Aug 19th, 2014 at 08:04:19 AM EST
European Commissioner for Employment Laszlo Andor gave an interview to German conservative newspaper Die Welt (behind subs wall, and not much available in Eng-lang media as of posting):
Luxemburger Wort - Brussels pleads with Germany to let wages rise
AFP) Germany must increase workers' salaries to help its neighbours out of the economic slump, the European Union's employment commissioner Laszlo Andor said Saturday.
The Hungarian said Berlin's big foreign trade surplus was hurting its European partners, and urged it to stimulate domestic demand by increasing wages and public expenditure.
"The rise in salaries has fallen behind the rise in productivity in Germany" for more than a decade, Andor told the German conservative daily Die Welt, in an interview due to be published on Sunday.
Brussels was now urging Germany, the EU's economic powerhouse, to relax its iron grip on wages, which he said was "indispensible" for the recovery of the rest of the region.
"It would be better if salaries rise in parallel with productivity," Andor added.
His comments come amid signs of stalling growth in the 18-member eurozone, particularly its largest economies Germany and France, as the bloc struggles to recover from years of financial crisis.
Brussels now appears to be taking a view long championed by France that a rise in German salaries would give the struggling eurozone a much-needed stimulus.
France's President Francois Hollande this month called on Berlin to boost spending as "the best favour Germany could do for France and for Europe" to help growth.
"It's very important that Germany increases public spending, stimulates demand and reduces its excessive trade surplus, which is hurting its European neighbours," Andor said.
Hollande (as reported) made feeble noises in this sense at the beginning of the month. Official communications in France, echoed by the MSM, say that Hollande's policy is to bring together European social democrats to militate for a change of direction on austerity. But Andor is particularly clear... and a Commissioner.
The ball is in Angie's court. Will she smash it? Ignore it? Send back a spin shot? Place your bets.