German prosperity levels are falling compared to other countries in western Europe, a recent study showed.
Relatively speaking, Germans are not as rich as they used to be
Despite an improving economic situation, the level of prosperity in Germany continues to sink compared with that of other European nations.
Germany has long been considered a key economic motor of Europe.
In a study done by Deutsche Bank that compared wealth -- mostly in terms of per-capita income -- in the 15 original European Union countries, Germany slipped down to 11th place.
Despite better economic signals in Germany, other countries are doing better
According to the study which was commissioned by Die Welt daily, Spain could have higher per-capita income than Germany by 2008, and Italy may achieve that goal by 2014. By 2020, only Greece and Portugal would report lower per-capita income than Germany.
Experts pointed to a one-time, long-lasting effect of reunification to explain Germany's slide down the wealth ladder.
Moreover, said Stefan Bergheim, an economist at Deutsche Bank Research: "For years now, Germany has missed the opportunity to plan for its own future and come up with a consistent growth strategy." Other countries are farther along in that area, he added.
Furthermore, he said, poor education policy has made long-term growth opportunity less likely.