♠ Posted by Emmanuel in Europe at 2/23/2007 12:10:00 AMDeutschland has endured criticism over continuously violating the Stability and Growth Pact that requires countries adopting the euro to have an annual budget deficit below 3% of GDP. After all, they're the ones who thought it up in the first place. For four consecutive years from 2002 to 2005, Germany violated this stipulation with impunity. But, wonders never cease. Germany has now crawled above this floor. In 2006, it recorded a budget deficit that was -1.7% of GDP. Along with her recent leadership on climate change and successful hosting of the 2006 World Cup, Angela Merkel's record continues to please: this news plus higher-than-expected GDP growth of 2.7% in 2006 and the lowest unemployment rate in five years at 9.5% in January are glad economic tidings, indeed. Compared to the ineffectual Gerhard Schroeder, Merkel is a woman of action. As Claudia Schiffer suggests, perhaps it's time to invest in Germany.