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Germany

Germany Pledges to Avoid Job Cuts in 2009

Chancellor Angela Merkel has called for cooperation in dealing with the economic crisis while industry leaders say they want to prevent lay-offs next year. But a second stimulus plan won't be agreed until late January.

A woman at a computer reads a job ad

It remains to be seen how many will lose their jobs due to the finance crisis

Merkel gathered with business leaders, leading politicians and economic experts on Sunday, Dec. 14, to discuss the current global financial crisis, which has already led to a recession in Germany.

"Everything we do now and in the next year should strengthen Germany in the long-term and not be a flash in the pan," she said. "I see this meeting as the starting point for a very close cooperation with all the players in our society."

Merkel said that the months ahead would be difficult and called on those present to "take joint responsibility, as the government cannot handle the economic situation alone."

Merkel

Merkel said tough times were ahead for Germany

Merkel said further talks would continue to be held over the coming weeks, with the focus on a concerted approach to weathering the current crisis. She added that Germany is a strong country that can withstand the ongoing economic turmoil.

Employment protection measures

Merkel stressed the importance of protecting German jobs, and Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, who is the Social Democratic Party's candidate for the chancellery next year, agreed that 2009 "could not be allowed to become the year of lay-offs."

Finance Minister Peer Steinbrueck said that Germany companies were planning measures such as reduced hours compensation and employee training in an effort to prevent lay-offs.

The nation's employment office, however, would not rule out that as many as 600,000 more Germans may lose their jobs by the end of 2009, according to a report in Focus magazine.

Tax cuts unlikely in second rescue plan

Montage with a map of German, the colors of the German flag and market lines moving up

Could a second rescue package turn around the crisis in Germany?

German economic experts and officials have said Merkel's 31-billion-euro ($40-billion) economic stimulus plan is not enough to protect Germany from the global recession.

Minister for Economic Affairs Michael Glos confirmed reports that Germany is preparing a second economic plan, but the package is not expected to be decided on until the end of January. That would give Merkel time to hash out the plan's details with her ministers.

"We want to study the possibilities of reacting quickly to a worsening of the crisis," Merkel told the Sunday newspaper Bild am Sonntag ahead of the meeting at the chancellery in Berlin.

Steinbrueck made it clear that Germany would take its own path and not imitate other European countries in slashing taxes.

Glos, however, left the possibility of tax cuts open, saying, "I imagine that we'll be able to agree on a mix."

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