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Germany Demands Greece Raise The Retirement Age And Reduce Vacation Days

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German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Tuesday evening blasted Greece and demanded that Athens raise the retirement age and reduce vacation days. Germany will help, she said, but only if indebted countries help themselves.

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It was the kind of criticism that one isn't used to hearing from Angela Merkel. Normally sober and analytical to a fault, the German chancellor on Tuesday evening blasted a handful of heavily indebted southern European countries, saying they needed to raise retirement ages and reduce vacation days.

Keeping debt under control, Merkel said in a speech at an event held by her party, the conservative Christian Democratic Union, in the western German town of Meschede, isn't the only priority. "It is also important that people in countries like Greece, Spain and Portugal are not able to retire earlier than in Germany -- that everyone exerts themselves more or less equally. That is important."

She added: "We can't have a common currency where some get lots of vacation time and others very little. That won't work in the long term."

There are indeed significant differences between retirement ages in the two countries. Greece announced reforms to its pension system in early 2010 aimed at reducing early retirement and raising the average age of retirement to 63. Incentives to keep workers in the labor market beyond 65 have likewise been adopted. Germany voted in 2007 to raise the retirement age from 65 to 67 over the next several years.

In January of this year, Merkel proposed a "pact for competitiveness" that would force EU members to coordinate their national policies on issues like tax, wages and retirement ages. A watered-down version of the pact was agreed upon at a summit in March.

'Soft Restructuring'

Merkel's broadside comes at a time when doubts are rising in Europe as to the efficacy of bailout packages put together for euro-zone countries struggling under mountains of debt. Attention in recent weeks, however, has focused once again on Greece as it has become clear that, despite €110 billion ($157 billion) in aid granted to the country in 2010, Athens may need more.

On Tuesday, following two days of meetings to address Greece's plight, top euro-zone officials for the first time indicated that some sort of debt restructuring may be in store for Athens after all. The European Union had been adamant in its refusal to consider a partial Greek default for fear that it could destabilize the markets. But on Tuesday, Jean-Claude Juncker, who heads up the Euro group -- made up of the finance ministers of the 17 euro-zone member states -- said that a so-called "soft restructuring of Greek debt" may be possible.

European Commissioner for Economic and Monetary Affairs Olli Rehn seconded the idea, saying "a voluntary extension of loan maturities, a so-called re-profiling or rescheduling on a voluntary basis, could be examined."

A prerequisite for such a move, Juncker said, was that Greece raise €50 billion through the privatization of state-owned assets. He said he expects that at least €15 billion in assets to be sold this year. Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou said that an aggressive privatization strategy could cut his country's debt -- currently at 150 percent of Greek gross domestic product -- by 20 percentage points.

Intended for a Domestic Audience

Merkel's sharp tone on Tuesday evening was almost certainly intended primarily for a domestic audience. Her junior coalition partner, the business-friendly Free Democrats, have been vocally skeptical of additional euro-zone bailout packages, even though they voted in favor of the European Stability Mechanism -- a permanent euro backstop set to enter force in 2013 -- at a weekend party convention. And the Christian Social Union (CSU), the Bavarian sister party to Merkel's Christian Democrats, is considering polling its members on whether it should support an additional aid package for Greece.

"The lesson from Greece is that despite the euro rescue scheme, it is in no better a position today than a year ago," Alexander Dobrindt, the CSU's general secretary, told the Munich-based paper Münchner Merkur. "Our members have to be consulted on such a basic question as whether we should tolerate a different Europe."

Others among Merkel's conservatives have also voiced resistance to the European Stability Mechanism, making it possible that she will have to rely on votes from the opposition in the German parliament, which will vote on the euro backstop in the autumn.

'Exertion Must Be Demonstrated'

Such concerns, it would seem, were not far from Merkel's mind as she spoke on Tuesday evening. "Of course we want the euro and of course we don't want to see that a country goes broke, so to speak, and that we all then follow," she said. "But we can't just show solidarity and then say that these countries can continue as before."

"Yes, Germany will help. But Germany only helps when the others exert themselves as well. And that exertion must be demonstrated."

Among Germany's opposition, however, Merkel's comments were not at all well received. "Ms. Merkel is once again opting for populism over substantive arguments," opposition Social Democrat leader Sigmar Gabriel told SPIEGEL ONLINE. "It is shameful that Merkel is gambling away the European idea ... only to receive praise from the tabloids. She is fomenting anti-European resentment."

The Greens were equally scathing in their critique of Merkel. Green Party co-head Cem Özdemir told SPIEGEL ONLINE that Merkel's "arbitrary selection of specific issues doesn't help countries like Greece, Portugal and Spain nor does it reflect reality."

Daniel Cohn-Bendit, head of the Greens in European Parliament, called Merkel's comments "absurd." "Of course people in southern Europe work a lot," he said. Instead of "looking for cheap applause," Merkel should make concrete proposals, he added.

EU = epic fail

When will there be troops on the ground, because every Greek I know will say the same thing.

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Who won the war?

I think I preferred the shooting and murder of WW1 and WW2 than the banking theft/takeover, it was more honest.

Obviously you have never experienced war.

And by the way, WW1 and WW2 were also bankster sponsored and promoted (Hitler was also financed by US investment banks, google it if you don't believe it).

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The EU harmonization idea has been an epic fail. You can't have a single market and everyone retiring at different ages, especially if those nations with a lower retirement age don't actually want to pay for it.

I'm not surprise the Germans are demanding this to be changed. Problem is the Greeks can tell them to feck off and choose to default and bankrupt the German banks.

This is just becoming the ultimate game of chicken.

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The EU harmonization idea has been an epic fail. You can't have a single market and everyone retiring at different ages, especially if those nations with a lower retirement age don't actually want to pay for it.

I'm not surprise the Germans are demanding this to be changed. Problem is the Greeks can tell them to feck off and choose to default and bankrupt the German banks.

This is just becoming the ultimate game of chicken.

Actually I was reading an article about this in a Greek newspaper (Ta Nea )

Which compares holidays and pensions in both Germany and Greece

Greeks work on average 42 hours a week compared with 36 in Germany

They have 23 days holiday and 12 public holidays the Germans have 30 days holiday and 9 public holidays

The average retirement age in Greece is 61.3 for men 61.6 for women

in Germany its 62.6 for men and 61.9 for women

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It was the kind of criticism that one isn't used to hearing from Angela Merkel. Normally sober and analytical to a fault, the German chancellor on Tuesday evening blasted a handful of heavily indebted southern European countries, saying they needed to raise retirement ages and reduce vacation days.

The eu isn't really turning out to be much of a success story for the Greek people is it.

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Where is that spoof interview with the 32 year old retired Greek hairdresser lamenting the way things are going in her country?

I had tears in my eyes when I read that last year :lol:

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The EU harmonization idea has been an epic fail. You can't have a single market and everyone retiring at different ages, especially if those nations with a lower retirement age don't actually want to pay for it.

I'm not surprise the Germans are demanding this to be changed. Problem is the Greeks can tell them to feck off and choose to default and bankrupt the German banks.This is just becoming the ultimate game of chicken.

Surely the time must be getting close when the Greeks decide that defaulting is their best option. Lets see how Angela would react to that. :lol:

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Surely the time must be getting close when the Greeks decide that defaulting is their best option. Lets see how Angela would react to that. :lol:

"really? ok then, we're taking Cyprus. We can do it the easy way or the hard way, choose wisely"

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"really? ok then, we're taking Cyprus. We can do it the easy way or the hard way, choose wisely"

Not an option in the age of nukes.

Banksters strung up on lamposts is an option, however.

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"really? ok then, we're taking Cyprus. We can do it the easy way or the hard way, choose wisely"

Why would the Greek care about Cyprus?

That's like France threatening to take the republic of Ireland when there is a dispute between the UK and France...

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Not an option in the age of nukes.

Banksters strung up on lamposts is an option, however.

Maybe in Greece, but here in the UK the sheeple (which includes many/most HPC posters) would rather blame anyone than the banksters. The following thread is the latest example for that: http://www.housepric...howtopic=163877

Edited by wise_eagle

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Maybe in Greece, but here in the UK the sheeple (which includes many/most HPC posters) would rather blame anyone than the banksters. The following thread is the latest example for that: http://www.housepric...howtopic=163877

Most HPC posters won't get their dream payout and a cheap house from STR if their "savings" are cancelled by outright default.

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Most HPC posters won't get their dream payout and a cheap house from STR if their "savings" are cancelled by outright default.

True, I forgot most people on HPC just want a 'cheap' house, not a better, fairer society.

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Maybe in Greece, but here in the UK the sheeple (which includes many/most HPC posters) would rather blame anyone than the banksters. The following thread is the latest example for that: http://www.housepric...howtopic=163877

Wait a min. Isn't it the other way around? I.e. Most HPC posters spend all their time blaming the banksters for everything, and forgetting about all the others (who made a lot more money than the puny banksters).

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Wait a min. Isn't it the other way around? I.e. Most HPC posters spend all their time blaming the banksters for everything, and forgetting about all the others (who made a lot more money than the puny banksters).

That used to be the case, but these days there appear to be more brain-washed Daily hate Mail types around here than genuine free-thinkers.

Nobody makes more money than the banksters, or are you a Daily Mail'er too?

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That used to be the case, but these days there appear to be more brain-washed Daily hate Mail types around here than genuine free-thinkers.

Nobody makes more money than the banksters, or are you a Daily Mail'er too?

And if the Guardian and its readers ever get to decide the future of this country we will end up living in a second rate copy of East Germany in about 20 years time.

It's going to be bad enough as it is.

:blink:

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The EU harmonization idea has been an epic fail. You can't have a single market and everyone retiring at different ages, especially if those nations with a lower retirement age don't actually want to pay for it.

I'm not surprise the Germans are demanding this to be changed. Problem is the Greeks can tell them to feck off and choose to default and bankrupt the German banks.

This is just becoming the ultimate game of chicken.

Actually, there is no reason on earth why a nation cant be lazy in the same currency as an industrious one....oh wait, there is...if the lazy or either borrows beyond its wealth production, it will have a hard time paying back its debts...although, that is nothing to do with a single currency.

The Greeks KNOW they are a lazy bunch...hence they take REAL benefits rather than Government promises....hence...massive time off and benefits.

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Actually, there is no reason on earth why a nation cant be lazy in the same currency as an industrious one....oh wait, there is...if the lazy or either borrows beyond its wealth production, it will have a hard time paying back its debts...although, that is nothing to do with a single currency.

The Greeks KNOW they are a lazy bunch...hence they take REAL benefits rather than Government promises....hence...massive time off and benefits.

The germans also know - issuing the debt was to enable the default, which they hope will lead to asset seizures.

Same shit as your locla bankster wanting to turn his worthless PC numbers into actual stuff through the miracle of guilt.

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  • 312 Brexit, House prices and Summer 2020

    1. 1. Including the effects Brexit, where do you think average UK house prices will be relative to now in June 2020?


      • down 5% +
      • down 2.5%
      • Even
      • up 2.5%
      • up 5%



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