“We need automation because we won’t have enough young people to handle the production. And yes, it’s true that jobs will be lost, but without automation and digitalisation we would not be able to feed a growing population, dress it, entertain it, provide health treatment etc.”
Articles by Lidia Conde
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In February, acquisitions by Chinese investors in Germany reached a new dimension. A Chinese multi-millionaire has become the biggest shareholder in Daimler AG. The entrance of the influential Li Shufu into the world of Mercedes is proof of the scary Chinese presence in German companies (Deutsche Bank, the robots manufacturer Kuka and in many high tech firms).
European centralism fuels suspicion when Brussels and the poorer States join forces against the wealthier countries to demand more resources. And this is what has happened in Spain, according to many Catalans.
Merkel is negotiating a coalition government with the Greens and the Liberals – who propose opening the country up to the 4.0 world and creating a digitalisation ministry. Meanwhile, the chancellor warns that the idea of the homeland cannot be left to the increasing number of xenophobics in the country.
Lidia Conde | “There are risks, but there is no reason to panic. It’s important that people understand that we can’t do without globalisation. And also that Europe has so many strong points that it can position itself perfectly well in the world. Overall, Europe is still a producer of excellent ideas and high-quality products which can be exported all over the world,” says Karl-Heinz Paqué, Dean at the Faculty of Economics and Management in Otto von Guericke University.
There are those who believe, like Macron, that Germany’s 8.8% trade surplus is damaging the Eurozone economy. “4% could be justified; but not 8%”, says IMF head Christine Lagarde. The problem is not that Germany exports a lot, but that it imports very little.
With a very low jobless rate (5,8%), Germany is growing for the eighth year in a row. This is allowing it to attract capital and qualified workers. Even so, the future of the jobs market is a concern, and a key issue in this Autumn’s elections.
“…One of the reasons for the high level of youth unemployment in Spain has to do with the fact that companies hardly get involved in the dual training system,” explains Hermann Simon the chairman of Simon-Kucher, the preferred consultancy firm of the “hidden champions,” those German mid-cap companies which compete globally. “Spain’s level of innovation is very weak…the whole country cannot live just off tourism services.”
“In principal, the euro is a good idea. The aim is to create a big economic space without any monetary barriers, like the US. But a common space implies that member states are prepared to take each other into consideration as far as their economic, financial and wage policies are concerned,” says Peter Bofinger, one of the five ‘wise men’ who make up the German Council of Economic Experts.
Germany is a country of travellers. Three out of every four people go on holiday at least once a year. And Spain is their main foreign destination: over 10 million Germans visit the country on an annual basis – spending almost 10 billion euros – running a close second to the number of UK tourists to Spain. Almost half of them travel with a package deal from TUI, world leader in the sector. Sebastian Ebel is the CEO of TUI Germany.