Conservative opposition politicians criticized German Labor and Economics Minister Wolfgang Clement for his comments on the weekend that the ranks of the unemployed may reach five million. Parliamentarian Johannes Singhammer, member of the Christian Social Union (CSU), said that Clement was simply attempting to prepare the public for the "shocking numbers." Singhammer said that the new Hartz IV labor laws were responsible for the high unemployment. Clement defended the government's position in Munich on Monday, saying that in the second half of this year, the number of unemployed should drop by 200,000. On Sunday, the labor minister had told the mass-selling weekly
Bild am Sonntag that a new unemployment law that counts some 200,000 to 300,000 former welfare recipients as unemployed plus the winter weather would be responsible for the high number. The exact statistic will be released on Wednesday.