If they really wanted to do so, there problems would be greater than now since nearly 80% of their export is to the EU.
Analysts say many voters rejected Mrs Merkel's tough line on fiscal discipline as a cure for state debt.
Are you sure?
As opposed to Eruopeans who are more concerned with the spiritual rewards?
The reuters report you quoted is wrong, too, naming Northrhine-Westphalia Germany's most indebted state: there are at least five (out of the 16) with more debts.
There are a number of reasons for the financial crisis in German municipalities. In the course of the past 15 years the corporate tax reforms introduced by successive federal governments have ensured that one of the main sources of income for cities, business tax, has practically dried up.
Even in cities with major industrial plants, such as Leverkusen—headquarters of the international chemical company Bayer AG—the revenue from business tax has fallen to a record low, resulting in a growing debt burden for the city. Last year Bayer AG ratcheted up a record profit of nearly €2.5 billion ($3.3 billion) after tax. At the same time, Leverkusen is now one of a group municipalities in North Rhine-Westphalia that is implementing a drastic savings program to combat excessive debt levels.
In addition, the Social Democratic Party (SPD)-Green Party government headed by Gerhard Schröder (1998-2005) ensured that municipalities pay more of the bill for the growing numbers of unemployed in Germany who are dependent on welfare (Hartz IV) benefits.
According to statistics from the Federal Employment Agency, many municipalities in NRW spend about half or more of their revenues for social services such as housing and heating. In the city of Gelsenkirchen, this spending totals 73.1 percent, in Duisburg 60.6 percent, Mönchengladbach 53.7 percent, Dortmund 52.2 percent, Hagen 46.5 percent, and 45.9 percent in Essen.
The municipal debt crisis was then exacerbated by the financial crash in 2008, although this is not the underlying cause of the problem. Prior to 2008 municipal authorities had sought to free themselves from the dilemma of rising expenditures due to growing unemployment and falling tax receipts by privatising public utilities and municipal property. In so doing many municipalities sought to raise cash by playing roulette on the financial markets—with the ordinary taxpayer footing the tab for losses.
In the cities of Gelsenkirchen, Bochum, Dortmund, Recklinghausen, Dusseldorf, Lippe and elsewhere dubious cross-border leasing transactions were conducted, whereby schools, roads, sewage treatment plants, sewer systems, water systems, street railways and other essential public infrastructure and facilities were hawked off to US investors. These interests pocketed a short-term profit and then leased these services back to the municipalities. In the process, many municipalities lost large amounts of public money on the stock market.
As a result, one in three municipalities in NRW is operating on the basis of an emergency budget. Out of a total of 396 municipalities in the state, only eight have a balanced budget. At the end of 2010 the total debt of municipalities and municipal associations in North Rhine-Westphalia stood at €56.8 billion ($75 billion)
That would be a major journalistic error, but perhaps still the truth when city debts are included. You folks seem to be very unwilling to pay your public sector bills, as are so many of us moderns.
Okay. Let's change the subject. It's now about German communities unwilling to pay there bills, correct? And that you think that our state's debt should include more than just the state's debt?
NRW is not just the Ruhr," said Michael Huether, president of the IW economic institute in Cologne.
"It is a highly industrialised state with strong companies in the machinery, automotive, chemicals and energy sectors. The problem is that you have regions on very different economic trajectories that have not been linked up."
The impact of the economic woes on local finances has been devastating. On top of the 180 billion euros in state debt, municipalities have amassed liabilities of nearly 50 billion.
Only eight of the 396 local governments in NRW have balanced budgets, putting the state at the centre of a mini-financial crisis that has gone largely unnoticed due to the overall strength of Europe's biggest economy and the health of finances at the federal level.
One of the worst hit areas is Oberhausen, a city of just over 200,000 where its last coal mine and a large Thyssen iron and steel mill shut down in the 1990s.
Since then, it has tried to transform itself into a service-based economic hub, opening what the city hails as "Europe's biggest shopping and leisure centre" on the site of a shuttered steel production plant.
But the results have been disappointing and Oberhausen now holds the ignominious distinction of being the city with the highest debt per capita in Germany. In a twist, its treasurer, Apolstolos Tsalastras, is the son of Greek immigrants
You have yet to document that the journalists quoted are factually not correct, but even if you can the fact remains that it is highly probable that the people in the German rust belt have the worst public sector debt loads in all of Germany. The journalists might here be technically wrong but in spirit correct. This remains to be seen.
Looks like they'll get an absolute majority in parliament?
So a kind of opposite dynamics: on the left, voters for the smaller, more radical party might have shifted to the SPD at the last moment to ensure a left-wing victory (and avoid voting for a party likely to fail the electoral threshold); whereas on the right, a lot of voters for the bigger party deserted it at the last moment - why? Did they lend their vote to the FDP to make sure it got over the threshold? Or had they wanted to vote FDP in the first place, and felt free to do so when they saw that the last polls made a CDU victory unfeasible anyway?