Germany is an unfit man, economy isn’t in shape, finance minister says

By Thomson Reuters Feb 12, 2024 | 1:29 PM

By Maria Martinez

LONDON (Reuters) – Germany is not the sick man of Europe, but an unfit man in need of structural reforms to strengthen its competitiveness, German Finance Minister Christian Lindner said on Monday.

“Some say Germany is the sick man of Europe, I don’t think so,” Lindner said at an event at the London School of Economics. “We are an unfit man.”

The economy, Europe’s biggest, was the weakest among its large euro zone peers last year, as high energy costs, feeble global orders and record-high interest rates took their toll.

That led some economist to call Germany “the sick man of Europe.”

At 0.9%, German economic growth is expected to remain well below the average of 1.4% for advanced economies in 2024, according to the forecasts of the International Monetary Fund.

The minister said the German economy is “healthy, but not in the best shape,” comparing it with the British economy. “Both economies are in a downturn.”

In January, Germany said in the World Economic Forum that Germany was a “tired man” in need of a cup of coffee of structural reforms. Speaking in London, he specified that Germany needs to reduce red tape, attract workers into the labour market and mobilise private investment.

Lindner said the EU needs a single capital market for private investment, instead of giving more subsidies.

“It is unlikely that any economy is capable of paying subsidies for a very long time,” Lindner said.

(Reporting by Maria Martinez; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)