German President: Jobs Must Be Priority | Germany| News and in-depth reporting from Berlin and beyond | DW | 15.03.2005
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German President: Jobs Must Be Priority

In a major speech to lawmakers and employers in Berlin, German President Horst Köhler called on politicians to put job creation at the top of the national agenda. He said the country must be willing to put through more labor market reforms if it wants to put a dent in an unemployment rate at its highest since World War II. Jobless numbers jumped to 5.22 million in February. The president, a former head of the International Monetary Fund, said Germany should also cut corporate taxes, lower labor costs, and reduce bureaucracy. "Everything that serves the creation and security of competitive jobs has to be done," Köhler said. "Everything that stands in their way must be avoided." The speech came just a few days before a "jobs summit," where Chancellor Gerhard Schröder will meet with opposition leaders about finding ways to get people back to work and boosting Germany's anemic growth rates. Köhler called on politicians to agree on guidelines at the summit for a renewal of German society and the economy, saying they had "patriotic duties" to do so. He called Schröder's controversial Agenda 2010 reform package "a brave start," but said more reform was needed to get Germany back on track.

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