BERLIN (Reuters) – Germans take pride in their engineering and organisational skills but their country’s reputation for efficiency has been exploded by a farcical series of delays in building Berlin’s new international airport.
Although the postponements in opening what is ostensibly a completed marvel of architecture have drawn the most attention, Germany’s stifling bureaucracy, red tape and planning rules have also blighted dozens more big projects.
BERLIN, Jan 7 (Reuters) – Berlin Mayor Klaus Wowereit
stepped down on Monday as head of a board overseeing the
building of the city’s new international airport after yet
another delay in the project dealt a fresh blow to Germany’s
reputation for efficiency.
Wowereit, a focal point of criticism due to delays in
opening the 4.3-billion-euro ($5.6 billion) airport, bowed to
the pressure and gave up the supervisory board chair to
Brandenburg state Premier Matthias Platzeck. The airport is
jointly owned by Berlin, Brandenburg and the federal government.
BERLIN, Jan 7 (Reuters) – A fifth postponement of the
opening of Berlin’s new international airport has tarnished
Germany’s reputation for efficiency and threatens to ruin the
high-flying career of Berlin mayor’s Klaus Wowereit.
Already 20 years in the planning, Berlin’s new 4.3-billion
euro ($5.61 billion) Willy Brandt International Airport has had
to push back its opening from 2011 to June 2012, then to March
2013, then to October 2013 and now to 2014, a source familiar
with the plans told Reuters on Sunday.
BERLIN (Reuters) – Chancellor candidate Peer Steinbrueck was widely criticized on Sunday, even by his own center-left Social Democrats (SPD), for saying German leaders were underpaid.
Steinbrueck has struggled to gain ground against Chancellor Angela Merkel ahead of next September’s election, in part due to lingering criticism over him earning 1.25 million euros ($1.65 million) as an after-dinner speaker in the past three years.
BERLIN (Reuters) – German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives have climbed to their highest opinion poll level in nearly seven years but will not be able to continue their center-right coalition with the slumping Free Democrats (FDP), a survey said on Wednesday.
The Forsa poll published on Wednesday, nine months before an election, found Merkel’s Christian Democrats and their Bavarian sister party, the Christian Social Union (CSU) rising three points to 41 percent, the highest since March 2006.
BERLIN (Reuters) – The junior political partners of German Chancellor Angela Merkel warned on Sunday against any attempt to raise taxes after next year’s election as Europe’s champion of budget discipline struggles to balance its books.
The Finance Ministry has denied a Der Spiegel news magazine report that Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble wants to raise value-added tax to a uniform 19 percent, eliminating a discounted 7 percent rate on many items to bring in an extra 23 billion euros ($30 billion) each year.
BERLIN (Reuters) – A close ally of German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Sunday rejected allegations of plagiarism in her 1980 doctoral thesis and said she wanted to stay in the cabinet beyond September’s election.
The accusations are similar to those that last year brought down Merkel’s defense minister and heir-apparent, Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg, but could prove more damaging for the government only nine months before an election.
BERLIN, Dec 22 (Reuters) – Peer Steinbrueck, set to
challenge Angela Merkel as German leader next year, criticised
her centre-right government on Saturday for letting arms exports
surge and vowed to end that if his centre-left opposition wins
The former finance minister, nominated to lead the Social
Democrats (SPD) into September’s election against Merkel, said
it was a scandal that Germany has become the world’s third
largest arms exporter on her watch.
BERLIN (Reuters) – Chancellor Angela Merkel criticized the centre-left opposition for blocking her government’s efforts to cut income taxes by 6 billion euros, telling a German newspaper those parties will have to explain that to voters in next year’s election.
Merkel, seeking a third term in September, also found fault with Social Democrats (SPD) and Greens in a newspaper interview for thwarting a deal with Switzerland to tax assets stashed by Germans in Swiss banks although without revealing their names.
BERLIN (Reuters) – Chancellor Angela Merkel’s center-right coalition has suffered a humiliating defeat by the center-left opposition when lawmakers threw out a plan to cut income taxes by 6 billion euros.
Rejection of the plan, which had been seen as an election-year gift to voters, showed the waning strength of Merkel’s coalition nine months before the poll, analysts said.