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Germany

Chancellor Publishes Pep Talk for the Nation

Angela Merkel wrote an open letter to Germans, calling on them to join her in tackling the major challenges facing the country including unemployment and a low birthrate.

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Germany must pull itself up by its bootstraps, Merkel writes

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who took office last month at the helm of a rare left-right coalition, said in a letter to be published in major newspapers between now and Monday that she believed Germany could re-emerge as a dynamic economic power.

"I have often been asked in recent weeks and months why I want to govern this country with all the problems before us," she wrote. "I always reply: because I believe in this country and its people! Because Germany is full of opportunities and I am convinced that we can seize them."

Targeting joblessness

She said the top priority remained driving down the unemployment rate, currently hovering at 10.9 percent.

Arbeitsamt Kassel

People line up for public assistance

"I cannot accept that we cannot find work for so many men and women in our country who are willing to work," Merkel wrote, noting that the government had already launched an initiative to make hiring cheaper and more attractive.

"Let's surprise ourselves with how much is possible, and what we can achieve," she wrote in an appeal for the populace to overcome what is often written about as a general lethargy and negative attitude towards change. "We need people to be ready to make changes."

Families first

She said she would also focus government efforts to revive economic growth, calling it the only way to ensure the sanctity of the country's cherished social welfare system.

Ganztagsschule in Berlin p178

Merkel is promising support for families with chilren

Merkel noted the government had earmarked 25 billion euros ($30 billion) to stimulate the economy and create jobs, including funding for infrastructure improvements and research and development.

The government will also zero in on Germany's mounting demographic problems, caused by the low birthrate and an aging population, Merkel wrote.

"We want to make it easier for parents to care for the children. Only if our country is strong and our economy is competitive can we help all those who need our help."

A positive start

Merkel, who only narrowly beat former leader Gerhard Schroeder in the September general election, is widely seen as off to a good start as chancellor and has watched her poll ratings steadily climb since taking office.

It cost the government 2.95 million euros to publish the letter in magazines and regional and national newspapers.

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