BERLIN (AP) — German Chancellor Angela Merkel opened the final phase of her election campaign Saturday with a focus on her record, emphasizing the economic growth and prosperity achieved during her dozen years at the helm as she seeks a fourth term.
Merkel told a rally organized by her Christian Democratic Union party in the western city of Dortmund that unemployment has dropped to a post-reunification low since she first was elected chancellor in 2005.
She told the crowd she hoped to achieve full employment — a rate below 3 percent — by 2025. The rate hit as high as 12.6 percent in early 2005 and was most recently at 5.6 percent in July.
“Those are really excellent figures,” Merkel said, going on to note that government and industry must not be complacent because technology is changing the way the economy functions.
“On one hand, Germany stacks up well, but on the other hand we live in a time of change, a time of uncertainty,” she said.
Singling out the damage done to the “Made in Germany” label with Volkswagen’s diesel cheating scandal, Merkel said honesty in business was a prerequisite going forward.
“The way things were swept under the rug or where loopholes in emissions tests were massively exploited to the point they were unrecognizable, that destroys trust,” she told the crowd.
In addition to Volkswagen, Germany is home to Mercedes, BMW and other top brands.
Merkel emphasized the need for the auto industry to develop cleaner technologies, but also sought to allay widespread fears that older diesel cars…
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