Crossing The Rhine…To Escape 10% Unemployment

“Many people still refuse to work in Germany; it’s the language and demons of the past,” but for many, crossing the Rhine is now the only option to escape the dismal depression-like economic environment that is engulfing France (as we most recently discussed here and here). As one border-crossing employee noted, “in Germany, they take people more easily and train them for new work even if you have worked in a totally different area than the one asked for,” and with unemployment in Alsace (France) at about 10% and the jobless rate in the bordering German state of Baden-Wuerttemberg at a mere 4%, it is little wonder that an increasing number – around 24,000 French people (from this ‘symbolic’ region) are crossing over for work.

 

Via Bloomberg,

 

“In Germany, they take people more easily and train them for new work even if you have worked in a totally different area than the one asked for.”

 

With unemployment in Alsace at about 10 percent and the jobless rate in the German state of Baden-Wuerttemberg where Kehl is located at about 4 percent, an increasing number of French people are crossing the border for work. Their commutes highlight how the euro region has one currency — and 17 different labor markets.

 

Alsace symbolizes Europe’s political and economic integration since the 1950s. The region became part of Germany in 1871 as a result of the Franco-Prussian War, returned to French hands at the end of World War I in 1918 and came under renewed German control during World War II. It was recovered for France in 1945 as the Nazi occupiers retreated. Strasbourg itself represents Europe’s reconciliation by being the seat of the European Parliament.

 

 

France hasn’t revamped its labor market as much as has Germany

 

 

France’s a 3,200-page national labor rulebook dictates everything from job classifications to layoff rules.

 

 

German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government is urging French President Francois Hollande to bolster France’s competitiveness.

 

 

In Alsace there are people who need work urgently and in Germany we have jobs that aren’t filled,”

 

 

About 24,000 residents of Alsace commuted to Baden-Wuerttemberg and the neighboring German state of Rhineland-Palatinate for work last year, up from a 12-year low of about 22,500 in 2010

 

“The whole system needs to be rethought,” she said. “We created this generation. It’s like a virus.”

 

Badische Stahlwerke’s Hamy, who comes from northern France, signaled that French prejudices tied to World War II may be a bigger barrier to cross-border labor movement than are France’s social benefits.

 

“Many people still refuse to work in Germany,” he said. “It’s the language and demons of the past.”

    

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.