“Strolling the broad, prosperous streets of Munich, it is worth recalling the times over the past decade when Gordon Brown used to boast in his budgets about how the UK economy was leaving Germany for dead.
Now – following the most successful year for Europe’s biggest economy since the euphoria that followed reunification two decades ago – that looks like the sort of prediction English football fans make ahead of each World Cup: premature, based on little more than wishful thinking – and wrong. “We will have a golden decade now,” says Hans-Werner Sinn, president of Munich’s Ifo Institute, one of the country’s leading thinktanks. Sinn wrote a book early in the last decade, when unemployment was high and pessimism rampant, called Can Germany be Saved? His view then was that it could be. Now he says it has been.”