Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Germany Yet to Swallow Some Economic Medicine Prescribed for Greece

by Harriet Torry

Wall Street Journal

July 14, 2015

If Greece implements all the economic measures agreed to with its creditors, the country could end up with a more-flexible economy than Germany.

Many of the overhauls on Athens’ to-do list are inspired by the labor market, welfare and budget measures that Germany enacted in 2003 and 2004, when it was struggling with high unemployment and slow growth.

Others—such as lifting restrictions on Sunday shopping and deregulating pharmacies—go further and would likely face a political and legal backlash if attempted in Germany.

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble rejected the charge that some of the measures the eurozone creditors are asking from Greece would be no-go areas at home. He also said that Greece’s economic and financial difficulties required more aggressive action.

“You can’t, with all respect, simply compare the situation in Greece with that in other countries. The kind of decisions that Greece has to take, with all respect, are difficult…The comparison isn’t valid, not even for polemic debates,” Mr. Schäuble said Tuesday in Brussels.


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