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Germany

Germans Flood Economy Minister's Phone Line

German Economics Minister Wolfgang Clement will probably think twice before he invites the general public to call him at his workplace again. In his enthusiasm for the non-bureaucratic nature of the new welfare application forms being sent to thousands of unemployed people this week, Clement publicly boasted that the 16-page forms should only take 45 minutes at the most to fill out. Anyone who was having difficulties, he said, should call him. Countless callers took his offer at face value. "My office is completely bogged down," Clement said on Wednesday evening. As for the callers, instead of getting practical tips on filling out the forms, they were told to call the hotline at the Federal Labor Agency. Clement reported that all the callers reacted calmly.