Erik's Feed
Jan 4, 2015

Turmoil in Eurosceptic AfD party could help Merkel

BERLIN (Reuters) – A battle for control of the German Eurosceptic upstart Alternative for Germany (AfD) exposed deep ideological rifts at the weekend within a party that has been stealing votes from Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives.

Merkel had chosen to ignore rather than directly challenge the AfD, which has soared from nowhere to around 7 percent in national opinion polls in less than two years, in the hope that it would burn itself out.

Jan 4, 2015

German government confident Greece will stick to reforms

BERLIN (Reuters) – The German government expects Greece to stick to the terms of its EU/IMF bailout agreement after a Jan. 25 election and a possible change of government in Athens, a spokesman for Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Sunday.

However, spokesman Georg Streiter declined to comment on a report in Der Spiegel magazine that said Merkel’s chancellery had shifted its view and now believed the euro zone would be able to cope with a Greek exit if necessary.

Jan 3, 2015

Power struggle rips open in Germany’s eurosceptic AfD party

BERLIN (Reuters) – A power struggle over the direction of upstart eurosceptic party Alternative for Germany (AfD) burst into the open on Saturday when a group of deputy leaders attacked its founder Bernd Lucke and his plans to take sole control of the party.

Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives, concerned about the rise of a party that attracts far-right voters and siphons off some of its support, have been hoping the movement will self-destruct.

Dec 24, 2014

Refugees are welcomed by vast majority of Germans – president

BERLIN (Reuters) – President Joachim Gauck urged Germans to welcome with open arms the hundreds of thousands of people fleeing war zones and to reject anti-immigrant populism.

Gauck used his annual Christmas address, to be delivered on national TV on Thursday, to praise Germans who sheltered and supported some 200,000 new refugees this year and to indirectly attack a new anti-asylum movement.

Dec 15, 2014

Anti-immigration protests grow in Germany

DRESDEN, Germany (Reuters) – A new grass-roots movement that assails the German government for ignoring its fears of being overrun by Muslims and other immigrants attracted a record 15,000 marchers on Monday in the eastern city of Dresden.

The fast-growing movement that calls itself PEGIDA, or Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamisation of the West, has drawn support from the far-right as well as some ordinary Germans alarmed by a sharp rise in refugees, many fleeing conflict in the Middle East.

Dec 9, 2014

German court drops probe of 89-year-old for French massacre

BERLIN (Reuters) – A German state court dropped all murder and other charges against an 89-year-old former Waffen SS soldier on Tuesday for any role in the slaughter of 642 people in a French village during World War Two due to a lack of evidence.

The state court in Cologne said the man, identified by German media as Werner Christukat, acknowledged being a 19-year-old soldier in the village at the time of the 1944 atrocity, in which 254 women and 207 children were among those killed.

Dec 5, 2014

German state elects reform communist leader in historic shift

BERLIN (Reuters) – The reform communist Left party took power in a German state on Friday for the first time since reunification, ending a quarter century of conservative rule in Thuringia and raising the chance of a left-wing threat to Angela Merkel in the next federal vote.

The Left, which traces its roots to the Socialist Unity Party (SED) that once ruled East Germany and built the Berlin Wall, will run the state southwest of Berlin with the center-left Social Democrats (SPD) and Greens in a three-way coalition.

Dec 5, 2014

Communist comeback fears hang over German state vote

BERLIN (Reuters) – The Cold War has flared up again in Germany ahead of a tight and unpredictable state assembly vote on Friday in the eastern state of Thuringia, where the reform communist Left party is yearning to take control of a regional government for the first time.

The prospect of a Left politician leading a state coalition with the Social Democrats (SPD) and Greens has unsettled Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats and put strains on her grand coalition with the SPD over fears it could be a blueprint for a future left-wing alliance at the national level.

Nov 24, 2014

Swiss museum to accept part of Nazi loot art trove

BERLIN (Reuters) – A Swiss museum has reluctantly agreed to accept part of a billion-euro art bequest from the late Cornelius Gurlitt, a German recluse whose secret collection included masterpieces looted from their Jewish owners by the Nazis.

Christoph Schaeublin of the Bern Art Museum (KMB) announced in Berlin it would accept all artworks bequeathed by Gurlitt which experts had ascertained had not been stolen by the Nazis. Others would remain with German authorities while their provenance is checked.

Nov 19, 2014

Strife racks Germany’s Eurosceptic AfD despite popularity

BERLIN (Reuters) – A deputy to the leader of Germany’s upstart Eurosceptic party Alternative for Germany criticized him on Wednesday as a “control freak” bent on rooting out AfD members who disagree with him.

It was a further sign of turmoil in a party that has altered German politics, winning seats in the European Parliament in May and mandates in three German state assemblies – its first – with 10 percent or more of the vote two months ago.

    • About Erik

      "Erik Kirschbaum is based in Berlin. He has been covering politics, economics, entertainment and sport in Germany since 1989 from Frankfurt, Bonn and Berlin. He also has worked for Reuters in Vienna. Previously, he also worked for newspapers in Connecticut, Wisconsin and Nevada. He has also written two books."
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