Paul Krugman quotes an ignorant German
Also note that Spain liberalised its labor market lomg long before Germany did (it was under Adolfo Suarez -- remember him ? (hint he also manahed the transition to democracy). Liberalisation is just for the children as the protected jobs of the mothers and fathers are grandfathered. So in 2006 a much larger fraction of Spanish than German workers had jobs without job security. Of course by now many of them are unemployed (one effect of reducing firing costs is increased layoffs in a downturn of course).
In noted contrast, Germany used subsidized job sharing to preserve employment relationships (roughly the opposite of what Europeans mean when they say flexibility). Let them fire did indeed compete with stick together for the sake of the children. But Spain was the market oriented individualistic experiment. Germans seem only to compare Germany now and then and to know little about othrr countries (I hope the God of irony doesn't strike this US citizen dead for typing that as we are so much worse in that way).
You are stressing the important issues, but even just with regard to labor market institutions
and recent events Joffe has his facts ass backwards (as back words in the comment to sneak past the falcon Times style guide).