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Reports GERMANY ONLINE - MARKET REPORT


Te last federal elections, held in September 2017, saw the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) win 33 per cent of the votes whilst the Social Democratic Party had 24 per cent which created a coalition.


An election for new Chairman of the CDU saw Armin Laschet beat rival Friedrich Merz for party leadership and he is now a contender for Merkel’s position alongside Annalena Baerbock (Greens), Olaf Scholz (SDP) and Christian Lindner (FDP).


Merkel has been an interesting leader and has been both supported and criticised for her open border policy. She has allowed more than a million migrants and refugees, many from Syria, to enter Germany. Tis caused huge problems in 2016 when a gang of young refugees robbed and assaulted more than 600 women in Germany. A huge political backlash began and many countries sealed off their borders.


As a result 8,000 migrants were trapped in Greece until the EU paid €6bn to Turkey for them to return. It is believed opposition to the refugee project cost Merkel’s party the majority in the 2017 election.


Merkel is also renowned for her stability and austerity demands. She pushed through several stimulus efforts and tax cuts during the recession and tough austerity measures such as a sales tax increases and higher taxes for the wealthy.


P50 NEWSWIRE / INTERACTIVE / MARKET DATA


Germany boasts low unemployment after Merkel’s promise in 2005 to lower unemployment from the 11.5 per cent it was at the time. Currently it is around 4.6 per cent (data for January 2021) with just over two million people unemployed (compared to 3.3 per cent in January 2020 data)


Germany is still Europe’s top dog in terms of economy. It’s the world’s fourth largest, and Europe’s largest, economy in terms of PPP and is based on exports of high quality manufactured goods particularly cars, health care products, IT and mechanical and plant engineering. Industry accounts for 22 per cent of the German economy.


Te Covid pandemic has of course caused the German economy to shrink - by around five per cent last year - with many businesses being shut down during the year.


Te drop in GDP was however less than recorded during the global recession in 2009 (5.7 per cent). In 2019 the economy grew by 0.6 per cent.


Te country reported a historic slump of 9.7 per cent in GDP in the second quarter of 2020 when the virus hit and lockdowns were instigated. It had managed to recover by the third quarter but recovery was slow again in the fourth quarter thanks to the second wave and another lockdown imposed.


Te fourth quarter of 2020 shows GDP was up


by 0.3 per cent on the previous quarter but down by 2.7 per cent on the same quarter in 2019.


Meanwhile the virus is still affecting travel to and from Germany. Travellers into Germany from risk areas must complete a digital entry registration form, be tested for Covid and in some cases self isolate. Individual Länders are responsible for quarantine regulations.


In early March Merkel revealed the government’s five step plan to relax lockdown measures and re-open businesses on a regional and state level.


Between November 2020 and March 2021 hotels and other accommodation venues could only offer overnight accommodation to people whose travel was essential. Tourism was not permitted.


In 2020 turnover from tourism (accommodation and food services) was down by 39 per cent compared to 2019 which saw 190.9 million arrivals into the country with €98bn in turnover and 495 million overnight stays.


December 2020 saw 6.7 million overnight stays (a drop of 78 per cent compared to December 2019) whilst turnover (€302.3m) in accommodation and food services fell by over 72 per cent that month in real terms compared to December 2019. Turnover between January and September 2020, declined by 61 per cent compared to the same period the previous year.


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