Southern Germany: A Slice Of Europe Where Debt And Unemployment Are Worlds Away

Around Germany’s Eichstätt region, unemployment hovers just above 1%, with industry booming despite the euro debt crisis. Across southern Germany, the overall economy has largely recovered, especially as the auto sector is rebounding. A good sign for the

Shoppers in Munich, Germany
Shoppers in Munich, Germany
Uwe Ritzer

INGOLSTADT -- A local can-do attitude may have something to do with it, though the secret to this southern German city's success also lies with one large company: Audi. The car company, which calls this Bavarian city home, has been thriving for years, with exports particularly strong. And that resonates in the surrounding area.

It's less than 30 km from Ingolstadt to Eichstätt and thousands who live in the latter work at Audi. But that doesn't entirely explain why, for many months, the lowest jobless rate in all of Germany is recorded here. In October it was 1.1%, a figure that amazes even job market experts.

As regards mentality: people in this area are down-to-earth and loyal. Even in hard times, employers hang on to their employees longer, not only because they believe things will soon get better, but also out of fear they won't be able to replace those workers once the turnaround does occur.

Then there's the broader structure: although much in the Eichstätt region depends on the fortunes of Audi, there are other sectors such as tourism, plus well-known players in the stone industry, which together add up to a varied and robust mix. Things never go badly in all sectors at once. In short, the Eichstätt-Ingolstadt area is a southern German job paradise.

In Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg, prospects – both in terms of the overall economy, and the job market specifically – are looking better than they have in a long time. And better than just about anywhere in Europe.

As the debt, euro and financial crises risk growing into long-term problems with unforeseeable consequences, and economists warn of imminent recession, employers in this area often brush the news off with impatience. Their order books are full far into 2012, and scarcity to them means just one thing: not enough people to fill jobs.

A good time to be looking for work?

The situation is turning the job market into something it hasn't been in a long time: an employee's market. That may be regrettable for the people hiring, but not for job seekers, who are in a position to pick and choose where they want to work. Career opportunities for well-qualified workers and college grads with relevant degrees haven't been this good in Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg for decades, and not just in technical or commercial fields.

And if living costs are too high for some in prosperous urban areas like Munich or Stuttgart, there are also plenty of attractive offers in medium-sized cities and towns, as figures from the Federal Employment Agency reveal. Nowhere in the area did the jobless rate exceed the federal average.

The region's car industry is certainly a major force: alongside Audi in Ingolstadt and Neckarsulm, there is BMW in Munich, Regensburg and Landshut, and Daimler and Porsche in the area around Stuttgart – to name only the biggest players. Add suppliers to that, like Robert Bosch GmbH, ZF, Schaeffler, or Brose, some of them having in the space of only a few decades grown from small or medium-sized family businesses to global concerns. And then factor in world market leaders in other sectors, such as Adidas and Puma, two of the world's three leading sporting goods manufacturers, located in Herzogenaurach.

The days when agriculture defined Bavaria are long gone. Like its neighboring state Baden-Württemberg, Bavaria has developed into a prime location for high tech and research companies. Air and space travel, energy, traffic, and security are among just some of the future-oriented sectors present there. The number of registered patents is comparatively much higher than the number registered in other regions, or the national average.

Finally, there are more blue chip companies in Munich than in any other large German city. Experts are predicting that Bavaria's gross domestic product will grow on average 1.2% over the coming years.

Read the original article in German

Photo - dustpuppy

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Queen Elizabeth II with UK PM Boris Johnson at a reception at Windsor Castle yesterday

Anne-Sophie Goninet, Jane Herbelin and Bertrand Hauger

👋 Hej!*

Welcome to Wednesday, where chaos hits Syria, Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro is accused of crimes against humanity and a social media giant plans to rebrand itself. For Spanish daily La Razon, reporter Paco Rodríguez takes us to the devastated town of Belchite, where visitors are reporting paranormal phenomenons.



• Syrian violence erupts: Army shelling on residential areas of the rebel-held region of northwestern Syria killed 13 people, with school children among the victims. The attack occurred shortly after a bombing killed at least 14 military personnel in Damascus. In central Syria, a blast inside an ammunition depot kills five soldiers.

• Renewed Ethiopia air raids on capital of embattled Tigray region: Ethiopian federal government forces have launched its second air strike this week on the capital of the northern Tigray. The air raids mark a sharp escalation in the near-year-old conflict between the government forces and the Tigrayan People's Liberation Front (TPLF) that killed thousands and displaced over 2 million people.

• Bolsonaro accused of crimes against humanity: A leaked draft government report concludes that Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro should be charged with crimes against humanity, forging documents and incitement to crime, following his handling of the country's COVID-19 pandemic. The report blames Bolsonaro's administration for more than half of Brazil's 600,000 coronavirus deaths.

• Kidnappers in Haiti demand $17 million to free a missionary group: A Haitian gang that kidnapped 17 members of a Christian aid group, including five children, demanded $1million ransom per person. Most of those being held are Americans; one is Canadian.

• Putin bows out of COP26 in Glasgow: Russian President Vladimir Putin will not fly to Glasgow to attend the COP26 climate summit. A setback for host Britain's hopes of getting support from major powers for a more radical plan to tackle climate change.

• Queen Elizabeth II cancels trip over health concerns: The 95-year-old British monarch has cancelled a visit to Northern Ireland after she was advised by her doctors to rest for the next few days. Buckingham Palace assured the queen, who attended public events yesterday, was "in good spirits."

• A new name for Facebook? According to a report by The Verge website, Mark Zuckerberg's social media giant is planning on changing the company's name next week, to reflect its focus on building the "metaverse," a virtual reality version of the internet.


"Oil price rise causes earthquake," titles Portuguese daily Jornal I as surging demand coupled with supply shortage have driven oil prices to seven-year highs at more than $80 per barrel.



For the first time women judges have been appointed to Egypt's State Council, one of the country's main judicial bodies. The council's chief judge, Mohammed Hossam el-Din, welcomed the 98 new judges in a celebratory event in Cairo. Since its inception in 1946, the State Council has been exclusively male and until now actively rejected female applicants.


Spanish civil war town now a paranormal attraction

Ghosts from Spain's murderous 1930s civil war are said to roam the ruins of Belchite outside Zaragoza. Tourists are intrigued and can book a special visit to the town, reports Paco Rodríguez in Madrid-based daily La Razon.

🏚️ Between August 24 and September 6, 1937, during the Spanish Civil War, more than 5,000 people died in 14 days of intense fighting in Belchite in north-eastern Spain, and the town was flattened. The fighting began on the outskirts and ended in house-to-house fighting. Almost half the town's 3,100 residents died in the struggle. The war annihilated centuries of village history. The town was never rebuilt, though a Pueblo Nuevo (or new town) was built by the old one.

😱 Belchite became an open-air museum of the horror of the civil war of 1936-39, which left 300,000 dead and wounds that have yet to heal or, for some today, mustn't. For many locals, the battle of Belchite has yet to end, judging by reports of paranormal incidents. Some insist they have heard the screams of falling soldiers, while others say the Count of Belchite wanders the streets, unable to find a resting place after his corpse was exhumed.

🎟️ Ordinary visitors have encountered unusual situations. Currently, you can only visit Belchite at set times every day, with prior booking. More daring visitors can also visit at 10 p.m. on weekends. Your ticket does not include a guaranteed paranormal experience, but many visitors insist strange things have happened to them. These include sudden changes of temperature or the strange feeling of being observed from a street corner or a window. Furthermore, such phenomena increase as evening falls, as if night brought the devastated town to life.

➡️


We still cling to the past because back then we had security, which is the main thing that's missing in Libya today.

— Fethi al-Ahmar, an engineer living in the Libyan desert town Bani Walid, told AFP, as the country today marks the 10-year anniversary of the death of dictator Muammar Gaddafi. The leader who had reigned for 42 years over Libya was toppled in a revolt inspired by the Arab Spring uprisings and later killed by rebels. Some hope the presidential elections set in December can help the country turn the page on a decade of chaos and instability.


Iran to offer Master's and PhD in morality enforcement

Iran will create new "master's and doctorate" programs to train state morality agents checking on people's public conduct and attire, according to several Persian-language news sources.

Mehran Samadi, a senior official of the Headquarters to Enjoin Virtues and Proscribe Vices (Amr-e be ma'ruf va nahy az monkar) said "anyone who wants to enjoin virtues must have the knowledge," the London-based broadcaster Iran International reported, citing reports from Iran.

The morality patrols, in force since the 1979 revolution, tend to focus mostly on young people and women, particularly the public appearance for the latter. Loose headscarves will send women straight to a police station, often in humiliating conditions. Five years ago, the regime announced a new force of some 7,000 additional agents checking on women's hijabs and other standards of dress and behavior.

Last week, for example, Tehran police revealed that they had "disciplined" agents who had been filmed forcefully shoving a girl into a van. Such incidents may increase under the new, conservative president, Ibrahim Raisi.

Speaking about the new academic discipline, Samadi said morals go "much further than headscarves and modesty," and those earning graduate degrees would teach agents "what the priorities are."

Iran's Islamic regime, under the guidance of Shia jurists, continuously fine tunes notions of "proper" conduct — and calibrates its own, interventionist authority. More recently the traffic police chief said women were not allowed to ride motorbikes, and "would be stopped," Prague-based Radio Farda reported.

Days before, a cleric in the holy city of Qom in central Iran insisted that people must be vaccinated by a medic of the same sex "as often as possible," and if not, there should be no pictures of mixed-sex vaccinations.

✍️ Newsletter by Anne-Sophie Goninet, Jane Herbelin and Bertrand Hauger

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