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GERMANY-ELECTION/MOOD
RTX13IHV
September 12, 2013
Rudi Detje, former shipbuilding worker, poses in the harbour of Bremerhaven, August 29, 2013. With well-paid...
Bremerhaven, Germany
Detje former shipbuilding worker poses in the harbour of Bremerhaven
Rudi Detje, former shipbuilding worker, poses in the harbour of Bremerhaven, August 29, 2013. With well-paid jobs making cars for Audi in nearby Ingolstadt and light-bulbs for Osram, Eichstaett, whose unemployment rate of 1.3 percent is the lowest in all of Germany, is the envy of less fortunate regions. Yet even in places like Bremerhaven, 500 km (340 miles) to the northwest, where the demise of the shipbuilding and fishing industries has spawned unemployment of 15 percent, the highest rate in the country, the mood isn't entirely bleak. These two centres, at opposite ends of the economic spectrum, offer clues to the national mood ahead of a federal vote on September 22 that is being closely watched across Europe. Crucially, there is a safety net for people like Detje, a native of Bremerhaven who trained as a shipbuilder in the 1980s just as the industry was collapsing. After decades in and out of jobs, he started a moving business in 2010. He gets 382 euros per month in unemployment benefits and is allowed to keep just 100 euros of his earnings on top of that. But the state pays his rent and he can invest income that exceeds his take-home ceiling in tools and equipment. Picture taken August 29, 2013. REUTERS/Fabian Bimmer (GERMANY - Tags: POLITICS ELECTIONS MARITIME BUSINESS)
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