BERLIN, Sept 10 (Reuters) – The German government denied on
Friday charges that it had made a secretive deal to cap safety
costs for utility firms as part of an agreement to extend the
lifespans of nuclear power plants.
Chancellor Angela Merkel’s spokesman Steffen Seibert
dismissed accusations by the opposition Social Democrat and
Greens parties that the government made a secret pact limiting
the costs of safety upgrades to 500 million euros per reactor.
A German central banker, Thilo Sarrazin, whose outspoken comments on race and religion sparked a fierce national debate unexpectedly quit the Bundesbank board on Thursday evening, sparing Chancellor Angela Merkel, President Christian Wulff and Bundesbank President Axel Weber a messy legal and political battle.
But Sarrazin, 65, made it clear that he will not go away and plans to use his new-found fame to press forward with the issues tackled in his best-selling book: that Muslims are undermining German society and threatening to change its character and culture with their higher birth rate. Whether Germans like his views or not, there is no denying that Sarrazin has struck a chord.
BERLIN (Reuters) – Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats are in danger of losing control of a conservative southern German state they have governed since 1953, an opinion poll published on Wednesday said.
A Forsa poll in Stern magazine showed support for Merkel’s CDU-led centre-right coalition with the Free Democrats in Baden-Wuerttemberg fell to 43 percent while the opposition Social Democrats (SPD) and Greens scored 48 percent.
(Photo: Thilo Sarrazin at the presentation of his book in Berlin, August 30, 2010/Fabrizio Bensch)
Germany’s Jewish community has urged the central bank to sack a board member who polarised the nation by making disparaging comments about Muslim immigrants and asserting that Jews have a particular genetic makeup.
Dieter Graumann, vice president of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, said on Tuesday that Bundesbank board member Thilo Sarrazin was out of line, even as polls showed many Germans support his views.
BERLIN, Aug 31 (Reuters) – Germany’s Jewish community urged
the central bank on Tuesday to sack a board member who polarised
the nation by making disparaging comments about Muslim
immigrants and asserting that Jews have a particular genetic
Dieter Graumann, vice president of the Central Council of
Jews in Germany, said Bundesbank board member Thilo Sarrazin was
out of line, even as polls showed many Germans support his
BERLIN (Reuters) – German government leaders condemned a central bank executive on Sunday for making anti-Semitic remarks before the publication of his book on Monday that takes a critical look at Turk and Arab immigrants.
Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle and Defense Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg said Thilo Sarrazin was out of line for comments about Jews, remarks that were also criticized by Jewish leaders in the country responsible for the Holocaust.
BERLIN (Reuters) – Ten of thousands took to the streets of Stuttgart Friday to join a demonstration against a new train station that began as a one-issue protest but has become a wider movement against German politicians in general.
Later in the day up to 50,000 people are expected to form a human chain, organizers said, and march against one of Germany’s biggest-ever building projects — demolishing Stuttgart’s landmark railway station and building an underground station.
BERLIN, Aug 25 (Reuters) – The euro is trading in a
“reasonable range” and markets have accepted the decisions
taken by policymakers to support the European single currency,
German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said on Wednesday.
He also said the German economy was on a good path even if
economic growth would be a bit lower next year. Positive
economic indicators had shown the German government’s
recession-fighting policies were right, he added.
BERLIN (Reuters) – The German government said on Wednesday it will scrutinize Google’s promise to respect privacy requests by letting people opt out of its “Street View” mapping system and that it would be ready to intervene if necessary.
In a country wary of surveillance due to the Nazis’ Gestapo and East Germany’s Stasi secret police, the response to Street View has been overwhelmingly negative even though Germans got assurances they can have images of their homes kept out.
Rainer Bruederle is not normally someone many Germans pay a lot of attention to. The Economy Minister from the pro-business Free Democrats party, junior coalition partners in Chancellor Angela Merkel’s centre-right government, does not have a lot of clout and few of his ideas have ever gone beyond the proposal stage. Bruederle, 65, has been called one of the most ineffective ministers since Merkel’s centre-right government took power nine months ago.
But now — with the big cats out of town — Bruederele has turned into mighty mouse. He has played the German media like a fiddle, floating one trial balloon after another with a near daily deluge of newspaper interviews. With little else to write about, German correspondents are filling their columns with Bruederle.
“Koenig des Sommerlochs” (King of the summer hole) was the headline in Stern magzine’s website on Monday after a fresh batch of Bruederle proposals over the weekend. “No one has jumped into the Sommerloch with as much vigour as Bruederle,” wrote Hans Peter Schuetz of Stern magazine. “But, let’s be honest about this, Bruederle is helping journalists like me get through the Sommerloch.”
Like with most Sommerloch proposals, Bruederle’s will likely not get anywhere close to becoming law. And Bruederle knows that. He also knows his ideas will only cause tensions in the ruling coalition anger Merkel and almost everyone else in her Christian Democrats — and many of her deputies have already rejected his suggestions. But he also knows the publicity could help him raise his profile a bit.
Bruederle first said the government should scrap its 2009 promise for a guaranteed minimum pension level, an idea widely picked up in the German media for a few hours one day last week. It was summarily rejected by Merkel’s party. Yet that didn’t stop Bruederle. A few days later, in another newspaper interview, he suggested relaxing rules to allow more foreigners into Germany to counter a looming labour shortage of skilled labour, comments that filled airwaves for a few more glorious hours.
And then Bruederle criticised Merkel’s party, the coalition partners, for not having enough enthusiasm about reforms — just a few weeks after party leaders had promised to stop that very same sort of sniping that had sent the government plunging to record low levels in opinion polls. On Monday, Bruederle was at it again with a new banking proposal.
“Bruederle is doing his best to fill the Sommerloch,” wrote Sascha Raabe in the Frankfurter Rundschau newspaper. But he attacked Bruederle as a “colourless minister with an addiction to headlines”. He pointed out, for instance, that Bruederle’s ideas on cutting pensions actually contradicted the position of his own ministry, which views the steady pension levels as an important pillar of economic growth. “If Bruederle had only read the position of his own ministry instead of frightening millions of pensioners,” Raabe wrote. “Maybe it’s time for Bruederle to retire himself.”