Germany: Our job is to strengthen Europe

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A top German official has said the country supports Europe's efforts to kick start the region's economy -- including a quantitative easing (QE) program -- but that other countries have to sell reforms to their citizens.

"The task for Germany now today is, through its own policies, structural reforms, its own investments, to support the EU and the Commission when it brings on to the market, so to speak, its stability package," Sigmar Gabriel, vice-chancellor and federal minister of economic affairs and energy of Germany, said at the World Economic Forum Thursday in Davos, Switzerland.

"But every nation," he added, "has to have the courage to broach such structural reforms and speak clearly about them without making people afraid. This is difficult."

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There could be significant political cost—such as losing elections—from such structural reforms, Gabriel said, but stressed there was no other choice.

"There is no alternative. The alternative is to simply prolonging the crisis and this situation becomes untenable for citizens," he said during a discussion about Europe's economy.

Gabriel also said that reform was possible with growth.

"I also believe that, on the whole, European politics and policies...to stimulate growth, activity and recovery, should not be undertaken by one institution alone," he said.

"The German government is convinced that the program of the European Commission and the one proposed by the President, Mr. (Jean-Claude) Juncker, at least bears in it the opportunity of combining structural reform and growth initiatives and incentives."

He added that he hoped such stimulus efforts would boost areas like research and development, energy efficiency and "digital progress."

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"How can one give people the sufficient confidence to believe that they will benefit from...these structural reforms?" Gabriel added.

"That is a difficult task for politicians to give such confidence to the electorate, so they can believe that their children will be better off. That is one of the major task of politicians and I think some have been quite successful."