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Business

Minister Denies Diluting Labor Reforms

German labor minister Wolfgang Clement dismissed criticism that the government is not properly implementing the reforms proposed by the Hartz Commission to slash unemployment. He insisted that the reforms will be instituted, despite the fact that the Bundestag has only passed the first of four packages of legislation so far.

In an interview with the German current affairs magazine Spiegel VW-manager Peter Hartz said that the reforms would only be successful in lowering unemployment by two million if they were introduced exactly as the government-appointed commission proposed them. He blamed "political elites" for blocking application of the recommendations. Hartz credited union resistance to lower wages for temporary workers with preventing the creation of 300.000 jobs. The commission that bears his name was made up of representatives from industry, trade unions, science and politics.