France biggest problem child of Europe: Germany
German politicians described French President Hollande (R) as ‘meandering’. REUTERS photoStrong ties between Berlin and Paris have been overshadowed after a leaked internal briefing from German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s coalition partners describe France as the continent’s “biggest problem child,” and President François Hollande as “meandering.”
Details of the briefing note were published alongside an internal assessment from the German Economics Ministry, which listed the French economy’s failings, British Daily Telegraph said. “French industry is increasingly losing its competitiveness. The relocation of companies abroad continues. Profitability is meager,” stated the briefing prepared by Merkel’s partners, the Free Democrats.
Second lowest annual working time
The government department highlighted that France was the highest “tax and social security burden” in the eurozone, and had the “second lowest annual working time.” The report also estimated that France had a bleak financial outlook, as it had “failed to fully invest in research and development.” The attack came after Hollande’s Socialist party accused Merkel of “egotistical intransigence” and called for “democratic confrontation” with Berlin.
The French criticisms of Merkel were made in a working paper prepared ahead of the Socialist Party’s convention on Europe in June, which was leaked in the French press last week.
The paper’s authors claimed that the German chancellor “thinks about nothing except the savings of account holders on the other side of the Rhine, Berlin’s trade balance, and her electoral future.”