Fighting for his re-election, President Nicolas Sarkozy of France has said with characteristic bluntness that the French should become more like the Germans. In a recent joint television interview with Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany, he raised Gallic eyebrows by mentioning the word Germany or German at least 15 times, or about once a minute.

The future of the job market:

Many labor experts single out the German apprenticeship system as a major competitive advantage. It takes young people out of the university track at 16 and trains them in industrial skills, as they simultaneously study for a technical degree and work for a salary. They often get full-time jobs with companies that have invested in training.