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Germany

Schröder: Time for Industry to Act

Chancellor Gerhard Schröder took a swipe at business leaders over the weekend, telling them the government had done its part to rejuvenate the economy, now it's time for industry to step up to the plate and create jobs.

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Schröder said the government had created optimal business conditions

Chancellor Gerhard Schröder called on business leaders and companies in Germany to contribute more to the country's economic recovery. In an interview with Bild am Sonntag, he said his government had acted to introduce painful reforms, and that it was now up to companies to act on that momentum.

"The corporate conditions in Germany are now excellent," Schröder told the paper. "It's time that (business leaders) stopped this ranting about moving their production and jobs abroad and invest in Germany."

Schröder noted that the government had listened to demands made of it, and acted by cutting taxes for both private people and corporations, lowering additional wage costs for employers, and removing structural barriers for companies to hire new workers.

"We are the world's leading export nation and are the only major country to have won market shares in the world market," he added. "We've done that jointly with a lot of hard work -- achieved thanks to major contributions from unions and workers."

Last-ditch PR effort

Jobgipfel Griff nach dem Job

Over the Easter weekend, the government took out large newspaper ads and distributed brochures for its reform projects in a PR move that cost close to 400,000 euros, according to the government press office.

The ruling coalition of Social Democrats and Greens is now fighting to prevent a potentially devastating loss at the upcoming May elections in the heavily populated state of North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW). The state is home to the last remaining SPD-Greens coalition, as four other red-green state alliances have been ousted since 1998.

Political analysts doubt whether Schröder's government could survive without a stronghold in NRW, which has been ruled by the SPD for 39 straight years.

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