For years Brussels has been appealing to the Germans to pour more cash into future planning. And the European Commission’s annual assessment of the economic and financial health of member states does not offer any change from the advice. The Commission acknowledged that Germany had made slight progress on private and public investments but said more needed to be done.
The aim of the yearly review is to help countries to coordinate their policies in the single market more closely.
The EU also makes recommendations on any improvement needed, if necessary.
This year marked the first time the assessment took into account to what extent each country met the United Nations’ goals for sustainable development.
According to the EU, Germany has made progress in most areas over the past five years.
But Brussels wants Berlin to put more money aside for important projects such as affordable housing and innovation.
In addition, EU chiefs continue to see Germany’s high current account surplus as a threat to the economic balance in the bloc.
Given the robust labour market and favourable financing conditions, consumption and investment remained quite low over the past 12 months.
A team of experts acknowledged wages and disposable income had increased.
But they warned that a large part of the growth will be saved and not spent.
The Commission also said it saw weak investment in Germany.
While this can often be attributed to a lack of will rather than a lack of funds, with Angela Merkel’s country that was not found to be the case.
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The report said: “Member states are still struggling to return to pre-crisis levels in public investment.”
However, at the same time, the Commission noted record employment overall.
But there were huge disparities among countries on this matter.
When it came to Greece, the Commission said it is concerned about the high level of public debt in relation to economic output, as well as bad loans.
Growth remains weak and unemployment is still high.
However, the review praised the Greek government for its efforts to promote investments in environmental protection, energy efficiency or renewable energies.
And touching on the outbreaks of coronavirus across the continent, the EU said the bloc’s economy could suffer as a result.
“We will feel an impact,” warned the Economic Commissioner Paolo Gentiloni.
Mr Gentiloni has served in Ursula von der Leyen’s Commission since December.
Additional reporting by Monika Pallenberg.
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