The German government are suposedly into cost cutting for similar reasons as the Brits, but without the knee jerk, have a wolverine in your pants style politics of Westminster. The German public however suspect that considerable savings are there to be made given the huge size of the civil service here. One example is the Federal Transport Ministry. They've been stonewalling criticism from the German treasury for a decade or two about their manning and spending in one department. The department in which over 13,000 civil servants are employed (with cushy terms, high pay, buck shee pensions etc etc.) That's 2/3rds of all the civil servants in the entire Transport Ministry. Which department would need so many staff? A growth area definately? Yes you guessed it, it's the department responsible for navigable canals and rivers. The department currently trying to canalise the Elbe despite it only having enough water for shipping for six weeks each year. The same department built state of the art container ports in Halle and Magdeburg after the wall fell, each with costs running into the Billion range and neither of which have ever seen a single ship or barge. All this despite internal shipping tonnages falling consistantly for the past century. The industry peaked just before the first world war and it been all down hill since. When reporters took the step of actually asking individual department members what they actually did, they were told to F@ck off. Apparently it's none of the tax payer's business. DER SPIEGEL have finally taken notice, I wonder if Angela Merkel will ever read it?