There are very few positives coming out of Germany these days. The economy got hit harder than most when cheap Russian gas was taken away from its huge industrial base. Higher interest rates are decimating the construction sector, and the coalition government can’t seem to agree on anything, leaving the most populous country on the Continent going nowhere fast. So, what next?
For those of us old enough to remember the nineties, this all seems eerily familiar. Back then, Germany was dubbed the sick man of Europe, and Schadenfreude was everywhere. Then something very strange happened and Gerhard Schroeder, a left leaning socialist became Chancellor and wouldn’t you know it, he reformed the labour markets.
The rest is history and the country which gave the world Oktoberfest boomed. Basking in productivity growth and helped by a weak Euro, Germany became the export champions of the world. Whereas it is unlikely that we are going to see this type of economic miracle again, it would also be unwise to write off a people that can still drive as fast as they want on the Autobahn.
German engineering continues to be the envy of the world and sitting at the heart of the largest economic trading block, there is every reason to believe that the country that won the World Cup four times can regain some of its former glory. And if you are still not convinced, ask yourself this: would you rather eat a bunch of Haribo Gummy Bears or a jar of Marmite?