Germany needs an economic turnaround, says finance minister Lindner

By Thomson Reuters Apr 27, 2024 | 6:08 AM

BERLIN (Reuters) – Germany needs an economic turnaround in order to secure its geopolitical position, German Finance Minister and head of the Free Democrats FDP Christian Lindner said on Saturday.

The German economy 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.

This year will also be challenging for Europe’s biggest economy.

In its World Economic Outlook, the International Monetary Fund has cut its forecasts for German gross domestic product by 0.3 percentage points for both years, expecting 0.2% growth this year and 1.3% in 2025.

These forecasts are below the estimates of 0.8% for 2024 and 1.5% for 2025 for the euro zone, showing that Germany has become a laggard in the bloc, after being the only major economy to suffer a contraction last year.

Lindner said Germany’s economic weakness has consequences for security and geopolitics.

“We need the economic turnaround because, in the end, economic strength is also a factor in geopolitics,” Lindner said at his party’s conference in Berlin, referring to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s war against Ukraine.

“Putin’s goal is to exert power over us, and we must never allow that to happen,” he said. But to have the necessary means against it, economic growth is needed, he said.

(Reporting by Alexander Ratz, writing by Maria Martinez; Editing by Toby Chopra)