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Merkel Delivers Opening Address to 2006 Annual Meeting
Chancellor of Germany calls for reforms, new business vibrancy in Europe

25 January 2006 - Davos, Switzerland

Angela Merkel, Federal Chancellor of Germany, delivered the opening address at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2006 tonight with a call for Germany "to become the leading country in ideas".

Too often ideas and the entrepreneurs seeking to capitalize on ideas are sidelined by a choking bureaucracy, she said. In Germany, "each rule and every regulation has a political lobby". To overcome this political blockage, "Germany must become more flexible, develop better benchmarking, become less rigid in its laws, and above all tackle bureaucracy. We need to reshape the federal government structure to reflect the world’s new realities."

Merkel outlined a tapestry of reforms for the Annual Meeting participants, including a more "viable" tax system, reduced labour costs, a more competitive public policy to attract the best minds, increased development in sectors of the economy that are expected to prosper, such as healthcare, and a German economy that invests far more than it does today on research and development. Merkel said her target is 3% of GDP to be spent on R&D by 2010.

Merkel also called for renewed focus on piracy as a global economic issue, and called on global agreements for technology standards. Reflecting the rising global concern over oil markets, she also spoke of Germany’s need for a new energy policy. "Good new environmental technologies can be a creative imperative," she reminded participants.

Expressing disappointment over the recent round of World Trade Organization talks in Hong Kong, Merkel warned that the talks must become more productive and must do better to ensure market access for developing countries. But she stressed her strong support for international organizations. She warned that simple bilateral agreements between governments "aren’t going to take us forward anymore".

Germany’s resolve to play a responsible and newly energetic role on the world stage as Europe’s largest economy will result in a new vibrancy on the continent, Merkel argued. "Germany will take this creative imperative to make Europe the most dynamic continent in the world."

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Last updated: 26 January 2006
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