Chancellor Angela Merkel tried to inject a dose of optimism into Germany's economic condition on Saturday, saying she expected the country would achieve "stable growth" in coming years.
Merkel says she is optimistic about Germany's economic outlook
With Europe still pulling itself out of an economic slump sparked by the global financial crisis, Chancellor Angela Merkel said Saturday she expected Germany would achieve "stable growth" in the coming years.
Her comments come days before economic experts are due to unveil their expectations for Germany's future fiscal health.
"I am convinced that the 'five wise men' (on the council of economic experts) ... will probably predict a stable period of growth in the coming years," Merkel said in her weekly video podcast.
The experts will present their annual analysis and predictions on Wednesday.
In a separate media interview, the chancellor said full employment in Germany was a realistic target.
Unemployment figures in Germany have been dropping
"I want to approach the goal of work for all, step by step," Merkel told the news magazine Focus, adding that finding positions for all job-seekers was not just a utopian ideal.
She said the government spent 40 billion euros ($56.1 billion) annually on unemployment benefits for some two million people who were fit to work. The number of unemployed in Germany sunk to 2.9 million in October, the lowest level since 1992.
"We must, and can, return these people to work," Merkel said, identifying the long-term unemployed, single parents, young Germans with immigrant backgrounds and seniors as those capable of returning to the workforce.
However, the Federal Labor Agency says full employment is still a fair way off, calculating it would not be possible until 2020.
Merkel went on to warn that the economic crisis was not yet over in the United States or the European Union - in contrast with Asia where she said the situation looked stable.
"The worst is behind us, but we cannot yet talk about a stable global economic situation," the chancellor said, stressing that the EU needed a stronger culture of stability to secure the euro currency.
Author: Darren Mara (Reuters, dpa)
Editor: Kyle James