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Europe

German Press Review: Germans Shy to Invest

Papers across Germany on Thursday concentrated on the reluctance of Germany's burned investors to dig into their pockets anew.

On the subject of Germans' reluctance to invest, the Handelsblatt pointed out to its readers that fifty percent of Americans are shareholders. While winning the confidence of the German investor is a slow process, destroying it can happen in an instant, the newspaper wrote. Small investors have been led up the garden path by crooked company managers, banking staff hungry for commissions and the euphoria over shares spread by the press. Germans have difficulty in drawing up laws to bring tricksters to justice and force them to pay compensation for their crimes. But recently there was a step in the right direction, when the court ruling in the Informatec case came down on the side of investors.

The Börsen Zeitung stated that people in Germany are worried about losing their jobs, about declining wages, and about having to pay more for their pensions and health care. The result is that people are saving more, but only putting their money into low-risk investments. Who is going to invest in equities if there is the possibility they may have to be sold at a loss a year later, the paper asked.

There's not only gloom on the stock market, but also on the soccer pitch, with Germany's new coach, Jürgen Klinsmann suffering a serious setback. The man who was supposed to become his assistant, Holger Osieck, has turned the job down. While the Sächsicher Zeitung conceded that the news was a blow for Klinsmann, it added that the reputation of the German Football Association was already suffering. Just two years before the World Cup in its home country, the association could hardly be in a more wretched condition, the paper grumbled.

Germany's mass-circulation tabloid, the Bild Zeitung wrote that John Kerry's chances of unseating George Bush in November have significantly improved lately, adding that it's hardly surprising that so many Germans and Europeans are pinning their hopes on the demure senator. Voters find Kerry's election slogan - security at home, respect abroad - appealing, the paper stated. As President, Kerry would indeed put greater emphasis on the counsel of his European allies than George Bush, but he would also want Germany and France to provide military and financial assistance to bolster US policy in Iraq. Sooner or later, Chancellor Schröder would have to say where he stands and Kerry will be no more impressed than George Bush by Berlin's voluble expressions of regret at its unwillingness to send any troops to Iraq.

The Pforzheimer Zeitung claimed that Americans only have a vague notion of what John Kerry stands for. Only dyed-in-the-wool Bush haters, like filmmaker Michael Moore, believe that absolutely anybody is better than Bush, but if Kerry remains as bland as he is at present, he will be hard put to defeat Bush, the paper predicted. And Bill Clinton can silently rub his hands in glee. Because if Kerry loses in 2004, come 2008 it will be Hilary's turn!