Germany’s low investment rate leaves its infrastructure creaking

A VERDANT suburb in the northern state of Schleswig-Holstein, Pinneberg epitomises the Germany of record consumer confidence, booming exports and a bulging federal budget surplus. Here commuters stream off trains from Hamburg (local unemployment is 4.9%), climb into big cars and zip home to neat houses with solar panels on the roof.

But visit the Theodor Heuss secondary school and you see another Germany. Duct tape attaches wallboard partitions to bare concrete ceilings studded with loose wires. Pipes, weeds and bits of tile stick out of the ground. Noisy emergency roof repairs had to be carried out during exams. “We went to the state government three years ago but nothing has happened,” complains Ulrike Graefen of the Pinneberg School Alliance, a parents’ group.

This is the underside of Germany’s economic miracle: a country with a budget surplus of €23.7bn ($26.7bn), or 0.8% of GDP, has the lowest infrastructure investment rate of any big, rich economy....Continue reading

Souce: Europe

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