What is used to create wealth

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"The state cannot directly create jobs. The state can do a lot wrong by intervening too far. It can also do something wrong if it does not set guard rails," emphasized the Chancellor in Villingen-Schwenningen. In the case of the financial markets, it was seen that the social market economy is not just freedom without responsibility.

Germany must be able to produce such good products that they can also be sold abroad, Merkel said in her speech.

Undertake something

The Chancellor explained that wealth and jobs are created by people who are entrepreneurs. The German word "Unternehmer" says everything here - namely that it is the people who want to do something. "A state can force a lot, but what it cannot force is the inner desire of people to want to do something," said Merkel.

The state cannot force growth to really happen again and again if growth is possible. The political level must set the framework conditions in order to be able to continue the positive development.

Fight for the youth

"Stay here and get ahead" - the motto of the New Year's reception - indicates that one has to fight for the youth, explained the Chancellor. "We have to make sure that they find living conditions in which they can learn well."

Europe looks envious of the dual training system that has proven itself. She emphasized: "We will do everything we can to ensure that there is no attempt to destroy the best we have here through centralization from Brussels, but rather that other countries follow suit because it has turned out to be forward-looking."

The living and working conditions of the people should grow together in such a way that it is not at the expense of the families, said Merkel with a view to the compatibility of family and work.

Healthy level of regulation

In order to be able to attract a good workforce, a reasonable level of regulation is required, said the Chancellor. "Politicians cannot enforce everything through laws and measures, so to speak, but medium-sized companies in particular have a high degree of flexibility, which is provided voluntarily."

Our country needs a modern infrastructure in all areas, not least because of demographic change, said Merkel. The transport infrastructure must be maintained in a sustainable manner instead of just living on the substance.

On the subject of major projects, she made it clear: "Above all, it cannot be that we are no longer able to manage major transport infrastructure projects in our country. Incidentally, this will also damage our global reputation as a reliable business partner."

Infrastructure ensures competitiveness

Investments in infrastructure are also necessary in two other areas: Germany has made progress in expanding broadband connections in rural areas and urban areas. On the question of network expansion as part of the energy transition, "we still have considerable tasks ahead of us," emphasized the Chancellor.

Electricity prices are also very important for the future of Germany as a business location. The turn to renewable energies must take place in an economically sensible, environmentally friendly and equally socially acceptable way, Merkel continued.

With a view to the crisis in Europe, the answer can only be: "You have to get to the root of the causes of insufficient competitiveness, of excessive debt, and try to get better." This path is painful and the problems cannot be solved overnight, said the Chancellor.

Solidarity with Europe

"Wherever something is reformed for the benefit of the people, to improve competitiveness, to improve the financial situation of these countries, it is also imperative to help these countries in solidarity," said the Chancellor on Germany's role. "In other words, it is about combining the conditions for doing your own homework with European solidarity."

Germany should not be overwhelmed by this. "Because in the end Europe will not do well if the best are overwhelmed and those who are not so good today have not gotten better."