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Currency, United States Finance

‘We don't want a fat Europe, we want a fit Europe,’ says German politician

Ahead of the German election this weekend, a politician told CNBC that the country wants a working Europe.

Otto Fricke, member of the federal executive board for Germany’s Free Democratic Party laid out his party’s vision for Europe in an interview with CNBC on Friday.

“We want a working Europe. We don’t want a fat Europe, we want a fit Europe that works,” Fricke said, adding that at least in the next years it is important to have control. He is concerned how Germany and Europe will prepare if and when things go bad in the future.

“Prepare means look at the future and look what’s coming up.”

To achieve a fit Europe, changes need to be made by individual countries and not at the EU level, Robin Bew, chief executive officer of The Economist Intelligence Unit told CNBC Friday.

“When we look around Europe and see where the fault lines are, most of the fault lines are around domestic policy – doing things to make your own country more competitive. We think that’s what would happen if you want to make Europe fit,” Bew said.

Bew says the biggest issue is labor market rules which make it difficult for businesses to churn their workforce.

“People in work really like those rules because it means it’s very difficult to fire them, but people out of work hate them because it means it’s very difficult for them to get a job,” he said.

Bew describes France as an “insider-outsider” labor market, where it’s very difficult for employers to get rid of those in work, but no one will offer jobs to those outside work

“If you saw changes like that across Europe, we’d get much fitter.”

French president Emmanuel Macron is attempting to reform the labour market. Last month, his government announced measures including a cap on unfair dismissal payouts and granting more freedom for firms to hire and fire workers. However, the reforms have faced opposition with protests taking place across the country. Last week, workers from the labor confederation union marched through French cities in protest, Reuters reported.

Source: cnbc
‘We don't want a fat Europe, we want a fit Europe,’ says German politician

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