It is 1998 and unemployment is 3.5 million. The country's new leader proclaims that fighting unemployment is priority number one, and that the 3.5 million is the benchmark at which he should be judged. Cut to 2005 and a new election arrives. Unemployment is now above 5 million, and growth has been dismal throughout the seven-year period. Had this been a Baltic country, or Poland, the leader would have been ousted - and with a loud bang. But since this is Germany, it means that he, Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder of the Social Democratic Party, Europe's non-performer par excellence, barely lost...
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