Chancellor Angela Merkel's Cabinet has adopted a report outlining social and income disparities in Germany after four months of delay. Critics accuse her coalition of rewriting findings to mask a widening rich-poor gap.
"Social Situations in Germany," the 548-page report released on Wednesday by the conservative-liberal government, faces widespread criticism from social welfare organizations and opposition parties.
It shows that in Germany, Europe's largest economy, the richest 10 percent own 54 percent of the country's assets, that half of all households possess 1 one percent combined, and that between 14 and 16 percent of people are classified as living in poverty or facing the risk of impoverishment.On Wednesday, Economy Minister Philipp Rösler - who heads the liberal Free Democratic Party (FDP), the junior partner in Merkel's government - defended changes made to the text of the report since its intended publication date last November.
"I regard it simply as electoral campaign rhetoric," said Rösler, referring to opposition criticism of the report ahead of Germany's federal vote in September.
"Everybody knows that Germany is doing better than it has done for a long time. That's reflected in the good labor market and economic growth trends," Rösler said, alluding to Germany's relatively robust status amid the eurozone crisis in nations such as Greece and Spain.