Erik's Feed
May 27, 2012

Merkel’s lead over German opposition slumps: poll

BERLIN (Reuters) – Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives saw their lead over the main centre-left opposition party crumble in the sharpest one-week shift in German voter sentiment in seven years, an opinion poll showed on Sunday.

An eight percentage point lead by Merkel’s Christian Democrats (CDU/CSU) over the centre-left Social Democrats (SPD) fell to just two points during a week that saw the chancellor face pressure over the euro crisis and domestic turmoil, according to the Emnid poll.

May 27, 2012

Merkel party urges opposition to back fiscal pact

BERLIN (Reuters) – A top ally of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives appealed to the opposition Social Democrats and Greens on Sunday to refrain from “playing political games” and back the government to endorse Europe’s new fiscal pact and permanent bailout fund.

The SPD and their allies the Greens – making common cause with France’s new Socialist President Francois Hollande and some other EU leaders – say the pact must be accompanied by new measures to promote growth and investment in Europe.

May 26, 2012

Germany sets new solar power record, institute says

BERLIN (Reuters) – German solar power plants produced a world record 22 gigawatts of electricity per hour – equal to 20 nuclear power stations at full capacity – through the midday hours on Friday and Saturday, the head of a renewable energy think tank said.

The German government decided to abandon nuclear power after the Fukushima nuclear disaster last year, closing eight plants immediately and shutting down the remaining nine by 2022.

May 26, 2012

No German money for Greek ‘bottomless pit’ – minister

BERLIN, May 26 (Reuters) – Germany will not “pour money into
a bottomless pit” and patience with Greece is growing thin ahead
of a new election in the Mediterranean country, a conservative
member of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s cabinet was quoted on
Saturday as saying.

Interior Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich told the Leipziger
Volkszeitung newspaper that Germany, Europe’s largest economy
and the biggest contributor to rescue efforts, is glad to help
Greece help itself but expects it to honour its agreements.

May 20, 2012

Euro zone row gets fat pay rise for German workers

BERLIN, May 20 (Reuters) – A record-breaking pay deal will
give millions of German workers their biggest rise in wages in
two decades, boost consumption in Europe’s biggest economy and
help towards adjusting the regional imbalances that have caused
severe tensions within the euro zone, analysts said on Sunday.

Germany’s largest industrial union IG Metall agreed to a
4.3-percent pay rise from employers just before dawn on
Saturday, giving the 3.6 million car and engineering industry
workers their biggest wage increase since a 5.4 percent deal in

May 19, 2012

Merkel did not push Greece referendum idea: witness

BERLIN (Reuters) – German Chancellor Angela Merkel asked Greek President Karolos Papoulias what he thought of the idea of holding a referendum on Greek membership in the euro but did not push it, a journalist who said he overheard their conversation wrote on Saturday.

A Greek government spokesman said Merkel raised the idea in a telephone call on Friday but Berlin swiftly denied that.

May 16, 2012

Special Report: Don’t call him Mr. Merkel

BERLIN (Reuters) – Political spouses sometimes provide a spot of glamour. Then there is Joachim Sauer, a professor of theoretical chemistry.

Sauer is the husband of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, arguably the world’s most powerful woman. He never speaks to the media and only rarely appears in public with his wife. He skipped her inauguration in 2005, drawing media wrath for watching the event on TV at his Berlin university. A German newspaper once said he was as “invisible as a molecule.” His surname means “angry” or “sour.”

May 6, 2012

Merkel’s party may lose power in northern German state

BERLIN, May 6 (Reuters) – Chancellor Angela Merkel’s
conservatives were in danger of being ousted from power in
another German state on Sunday after the opposition Social
Democrats (SPD) said they wanted to form a three-way coalition
with two smaller centre-left parties.

The Christian Democrats’ (CDU) vote fell to 31 percent,
their worst result in the state since 1950, but they were still
just the largest party in the rural region between the Baltic
and North Seas, a projection by Germany’s ARD TV network showed.

May 1, 2012

Merkel wants European growth, but no stimulus spending

BERLIN (Reuters) – Angela Merkel is against economic stimulus programmes to boost growth in Europe but is open to the idea of strengthening the European Investment Bank (EIB), the German chancellor was quoted as saying on Tuesday.

In an interview with the Hamburger Abendblatt newspaper to appear on Wednesday, Merkel said that she did not believe growth could only be spurred by costly government stimulus measures.

May 1, 2012

German unions turn up volume on pay rise demands

BERLIN (Reuters) – German labor leaders urged May Day demonstrators on Tuesday to fight for big pay rises after a decade of restraint that had seen wages in crisis-hit southern Euro zone nations soar.

The head of the powerful IG-Metall union, demanding a 6.5 percent rise, described an offer of 3 percent over 14 months as a farce. From Hamburg in the north to Stuttgaqrt in the south, the mood of members rallying in sunny weather under red union flags, banging drums and blowing whistles, was combative.

    • 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."
    • Contact Erik

    • Follow Erik