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Germany

Germany to Introduce Job Protection Measures

Chancellor Merkel's government is to come up with a stimulus package to help Germany weather the worst of the global economic crisis and secure jobs for nearly 1 million people, the economy minister says.

A man working on a car in a factory

Germany is trying to make sure as many people as possible keep their jobs

"With this catalogue of measures that we will adopt this week in Cabinet, we are for certain going to be able to mobilize more than 30 billion euros in extra investment," Economy Minister Michael Glos told the Bild am Sonntag newspaper Sunday, Nov. 2. "In addition, nearly one million jobs will be guaranteed or created."

Chancellor Angela Merkel, who presides over Europe's biggest economy, earlier this week promised "targeted" and "courageous" steps in the face of the most serious economic downturn in years.

Measures expected include lower taxes for greener automobiles, help to renovate houses that use too much energy, and tax incentives to encourage business to invest more. Small business would also become eligible for state loan guarantees.

Doubts remain

A car exhaust

Environmentally friendly cars may get tax breaks if new measures come into effect

But German economic think tanks doubt the planned measures will have much impact and said they see the steps a little more than the government trying to influence public opinion.

"I expect nothing from this program," Klaus Zimmermann, head of the German Institute for Economic Research, told public broadcaster ZDF, adding that the government's plans were not wide enough to stop an economic downturn.

ZDF reported that Merkel is to meet business and labor representatives Wednesday after a Cabinet meeting to promote her economic support program.

An Emnid opinion poll in Bild am Sonntag suggested that 70 percent of Germans feel that such measures would prove futile in holding back an economic downturn.

The German government has already adopted a 480 billion euro rescue package for the banking sector that include loan guarantees and capital infusaions.

Merkel on Saturday called on German banks struggling to cope with the fallout from the global financial crisis to take advantage of a state rescue package.

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