How to tackle Germany's trade surplus?

German economic policy is being lambasted on the international stage because the country exports more than it imports while its public spending remains too low. Commentators discuss ways to change this.

Open/close all quotes
La Repubblica (IT) /

EU Commission must intervene

It's high time the EU took a hard line with Berlin, La Repubblica rails:

“The EU Commission is deliberately turning a blind eye. Presumably it has given up, frustrated by the failure of its repeated attempts to persuade Germany to respect the regulations on keeping the surplus at a moderate level, which the Merkel-Schäuble duo has always ignored. ... The daily Le Monde pointed out that a penetration strategy in the countries of Eastern Europe, where Germany is buying up entire or partial manufacturing sectors on the cheap and adding them to its Made in Germany list, is causing the surplus. ... Surpluses must be regulated on a European level, starting with the economic protectorates that Germany has de facto set up on its eastern borders.”

Jornal de Negócios (PT) /

Southern Europe must take action

Economist Hans-Werner Sinn explains in Jornal de Negócios how Germany could reduce its current-account surplus:

“First, Germany could introduce depreciation allowances for private investments, as the president of the Ifo Institute has suggested. This would help to redirect some of the capital currently flowing to other countries back toward domestic uses. Second, southern euro zone countries and the US could finally return to a policy of disciplined debt management. This would reduce their imports from Germany and hence capital outflows from Germany, which is measured by the current-account surplus. In particular, the Fed and the ECB need to end their relaxed monetary policies - especially the fiscal bailout packages and ECB guarantees that are artificially redirecting capital into Southern Europe.”