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Europe

German Press Review: A Great Day for Young People

The trainee job pact agreed by German industry and government is the main topic of German editorial writers, but they also have something to say about the European soccer championships.

German papers applauded the trainee job pact signed by the German government and industry associations on Wednesday. The Tagesspiegel from Berlin said it was "a great day for thousands of young people." The paper wrote that "companies are going to make many more training positions available than they would have previously, and that's much better than the senseless and unfeasible law" that the government had proposed earlier.

Bonn's General-Anzeiger called the agreement a "victory of common sense," because it is based on the principle of voluntary participation. The paper reminded the government that "things can also work without bureaucracy." The paper pointed out that every economist had given the thumbs down to the original project that the governing Social Democratic-Green party coalition originally pushed through the Bundestag.

The Handelsblatt from Dusseldorf called the agreement "a high-class burial" of the original Social Democratic-Green proposal. The fact that the Social Democrats accept the new agreement, the paper said, shows first and foremost their need to register a public success following their hammering at the European elections. It also shows that the Social Democrats have learned that "they cannot negotiate against business, only with it." But the paper added that because the pact requires so little commitment politically and legally, it is really "a litmus test for the credibility of the industrial associations." The agreement has awakened expectations, and now those associations have to prove that they will take responsibility for upholding the deal, "even though they haven't made a firm commitment," the paper concluded.

The tabloid paper Express from Cologne turned its attention to Germany's 1-1 tie score against Holland in the European soccer championships. "It sounds pathetic", the paper said, "but since the match against Holland, the sky is brighter over Germany. The corners of people's mouths are pointing a little more upwards. The strawberries taste better." The paper praised the German side for "demonstrating with elegance what Germany is all about: tying your boots up tight, sticking your chest out, and concentrating on your work."

Berlin's Kurier compared soccer to politics, and wrote: "About 26 million Germans watched the Germany-Holland match and about 26 million voted in the European elections." The paper counselled politicians to "take a lesson from soccer about how to get through crises. With a courageous team leader. With the ability to fight. With the ability to change course." And, added the paper, "with a quick shift from defense to offense." It then chastized Chancellor Gerhard Schröder for steadfastly holding to his tactic of "ploughing up" the social welfare state.