Germans don’t work as hard or intensely as Southern Europeans
Southern Europeans work more and longer than Germans revealed a study discarding recent comments made by Chancellor Angela Merkel arguing that workers in debt-mired Greece, Spain and Portugal are lazy.
A statistics-based report published by French bank Natixis chief economist Patrick Artus said Germans worked less annually and during their lifetime than Southern Europeans, and did not work more intensely than their neighbours either.
The study, based on OECD and Eurostat figures, said a German's average annual work duration (1,390 hours) was substantially lower than for a Greek (2,119), an Italian (1,773) a Portuguese (1,719) and a Spaniard (1,654).
A French person works 1,554 hours per year, said the study which was released last week.
Germany's productivity per head remains close to the average of southern European countries. Its hourly productivity rate is above average but not better than France or Greece, the study added.
Although the legal retirement age is older in Germany -- currently 65 years set to rise to 67 -- the Portuguese and Spanish work longer. Their real retirement ages are 62.6 and 62.3 respectively, against 62.2 for Germans.
The real retirement age for Greeks is 61.5 but that is expected to rise to 63.5 by 2015 following government's austerity program to rise the legal retirement age to 65 from 60.
Only the French (60 years) and the Italians (60.1) currently retire two years earlier on average than the Germans, the study also said.
Furthermore the percentage of German workers with higher education is not more than in France, Spain or Greece, although Portugal and Italy have a “serious education disadvantage”. The rate of unemployment of unqualified labour in Germany is higher than in Southern Europe countries.
Last month Merkel hinted that southern Europeans take too much holiday and retire too early, sparking outrage across the continent.
In countries such as Greece, Spain and Portugal, people should not retire earlier than in Germany. Everyone should make similar efforts a little bit more. It's important, she said.
Artus, the author of the Natixis report wrote: ”Angela Merkel does not show the real problems of the southern countries of the Euro-zone”, since the true difference in their economies with Germany, are the German innovation capacity and savings rates.