News / Europe

German Growth Offers Lifeline for Euro

German Growth Offers Lifeline for Euroi
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X
Henry Ridgwell
August 21, 2012 7:18 PM
While the eurozone crisis drags down the economies of southern Europe, the German economy has shown modest growth. How has Germany managed to weather the financial storm? Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from Berlin on what’s driving the economic engine of Europe, and looks at how emerging markets could be key for the future.
Henry Ridgwell
BERLIN — As the music booms from his new range of top-end speakers in the testing suite, Dieter Burmester allows himself a little dance.

From its headquarters in Berlin, the company that bears his name produces audio equipment that retails for many thousands of dollars.  It is found in luxury homes across the world and in Porsche and Bugatti cars.

Last quarter, the German economy showed modest growth amid an ongoing Eurozone crisis that continues to drag down the economies of southern Europe.

So what has been Burmester’s experience of the euro crisis? “What crisis?  Is there a crisis?  In so far as I know, industry is working very well at the moment, we know it from the car builders, we know it from big companies like Siemens or Bayer.  And our own situation is also very nice, we have increased turnover this year,” he said.

Dieter Burmester, founder of Burmester, a company which makes top-end audio systems (Photo H. Ridgwell/VOA)Dieter Burmester, founder of Burmester, a company which makes top-end audio systems (Photo H. Ridgwell/VOA)
x
Dieter Burmester, founder of Burmester, a company which makes top-end audio systems (Photo H. Ridgwell/VOA)
Dieter Burmester, founder of Burmester, a company which makes top-end audio systems (Photo H. Ridgwell/VOA)
Burmester is an example of a German Mittelstand or medium-sized company. It is fully owned by its founder and has only 50 employees; it does not survive on big loans; yet it competes with global giants. Burmester says Germany has the right ingredients.

“I believe to build up such a company is extremely difficult, but in Germany we have a nice situation.  The infrastructure, that we have suppliers, that we have well-educated employees, and very committed employees is a great situation," Burmester said.

The German economy grew by 0.3 percent in the past quarter.  Other Eurozone countries managed stagnation at best, severe contraction at worst.  Analyst Ferdinand Fichtner of the German Institute for Economic Research says Germany’s resilience is rooted in Mittelstand companies.

“They are the backbone of the German economy.  Roughly two-thirds of employment in Germany is in those SME enterprises and what is probably even more important, it’s around 80 percent of industrial trainees that are employed in the Mittelstand,” Fichtner said.

A six-hour high speed train ride from Berlin is Stuttgart - home to Porsche and Mercedes.  The German car-making industry has grown to become the biggest in Europe.
Inside the cars there are many parts supplied by Mittelstand companies, many of them highly innovative in their fields.

The address labels in Burmester’s warehouse indicate a growing source of income: Asia.  German exports to countries outside the EU soared by 20 percent compared with a year earlier.  Exports to fellow eurozone nations fell three-percent.

Economic analyst Ferdinand Fichtner says German exporters have benefited from a weak currency since joining the euro - and that is a good reason to save the currency.

“Looking forward, it would mean the falling apart of the monetary union will make it much harder for the German economy to export, both in terms of competitiveness of prices and in terms of its markets, which will fall apart if the monetary union falls apart,” Fichtner said.

Polls show around half of Germans want to return to the Deutschmark.  Despite the euro crisis, that figure has remained largely unchanged in recent years.

If Germany avoids the recession that is engulfing the rest of the Eurozone, analysts say it will be thanks largely to the Mittelstand companies.

You May Like

Photogallery Americans Celebrate Thanksgiving With Feasts, Festivities

Holiday traditions include turkey dinners, 'turkey trots,' American-style football and New York parade with giant balloons More

Video For Obama, Ferguson Violence is a Personal Issue

With two years left in term, analysts say, president has less to lose by taking conversation on race further More

Video Italian Espresso Expands Into Space

When Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti headed for the ISS, her countrymen worried how she would survive six months drinking only instant coffee More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
To Make A Living, Nairobi Street Vendors Face Legal Hurdles, Physical Violencei
X
Lenny Ruvaga
November 27, 2014 7:05 PM
The Nairobi City Council has been accused of brutality in dealing with hawkers in the Central Business District - in order to stop them from illegally selling their wares on the streets. Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video To Make A Living, Nairobi Street Vendors Face Legal Hurdles, Physical Violence

The Nairobi City Council has been accused of brutality in dealing with hawkers in the Central Business District - in order to stop them from illegally selling their wares on the streets. Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video For Obama, Ferguson Violence is a Personal Issue

Throughout the crisis in Ferguson, Missouri, President Barack Obama has urged calm, restraint and respect for the rule of law. But the events in Ferguson have prompted him to call — more openly than he has before — for profound changes to end the racism and distrust that he believes still exists between whites and blacks in the United States. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Online Magazine Gets Kids Discussing Big Questions

Teen culture in America is often criticized for being superficial. But an online magazine has been encouraging some teenagers to explore deeper issues, and rewarding their efforts. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky went to this year’s Kidspirit awards ceremony in New York.
Video

Video US Community Kicks Off Thanksgiving With Parade

Thursday is Thanksgiving in the United States, a holiday whose roots go back to the country's earliest days as a British colony. One way Americans celebrate the occasion is with parades. Anush Avetisyan takes us to one such event on the day before Thanksgiving near Washington, where a community's diversity is on display. Joy Wagner narrates
Video

Video Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Change

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Mali Attempts to Shut Down Ebola Transmission Chain

Senegal and Nigeria were able to stop small Ebola outbreaks by closely monitoring those who had contact with the sick person and quickly isolating anyone with symptoms. Mali is now scrambling to do the same. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Mali on what the country is doing to shut down the chain of transmission.
Video

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests at a Crossroads

New public opinion polls in Hong Kong indicate declining support for pro-democracy demonstrations after weeks of street protests. VOA’s Bill Ide in Guangzhou and Pros Laput in Hong Kong spoke with protesters and observers about whether demonstrators have been too aggressive in pushing for change.
Video

Video US Immigration Relief Imminent for Mixed-Status Families

Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the Washington, D.C., area may benefit from a controversial presidential order announced this week. It's not a path to citizenship, as some activists hoped. But it will allow more immigrants who arrived as children or who have citizen children, to avoid deportation and work legally. VOA's Victoria Macchi talks with one young man who benefited from an earlier presidential order, and whose parents may now benefit after years of living in fear.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid