The discussion paper examines the social effects of globalisation. AEG and Continental are just two recent examples for companies that work profitably at their German locations, though production lines are being closed in Germany and moved to cheaper locations abroad. In the public opinion, there is an impression among many that the majority of German businesses are ready to leave Germany sooner rather than later because, with its high wage costs and inflexible labour market, the country is no longer competitive as an industrial and business location given the conditions imposed by globalisation. This, in the public view, has most recently been underscored by the consequences of the EU’s eastern enlargement and direct competition with Central and Eastern European locations; moreover, given their close geographical proximity to Germany, these new EU member states seem increasingly attractive for German businesses.
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