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Clement Reports on the German Economy

Germany's Economic Minster Wolfgang Clement presented his yearly report to the German parliament on Thursday and predicted a good year ahead, saying that in 2004 Germany would find the "strength to turn things around". The economy is expected to grow between 1.5 and 2.0 percent, said Clement, partly fueled by growing world-trade. However, Clement didn't expect unemployment figures to decline significantly until 2005, although he did say that they would dip below 4 million in 2004. Clement faced tough criticism from the opposition Christian Democrat (CDU) party. The CDU's deputy floor leader, Friedrich Merz, accused the economic minister of presenting an overly rosy picture, saying that the German economy, like before, remains in a crisis state.