Chief Correspondent, Germany
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May 10, 2012

Merkel resists calls to put growth before reforms

BERLIN, May 10 (Reuters) – Chancellor Angela Merkel rejected
calls from her centre-left opponents in Germany and Europe for
economic stimulus policies that rely on new debt, warning
parliament on Thursday that “growth on credit” would just tip
Europe deeper into crisis.

Since the election of Socialist Francois Hollande as French
president on Sunday, Merkel has come under pressure to relax the
austerity measures that, as leader of Europe’s biggest economy,
she has prescribed as the remedy for the euro zone debt crisis.

May 9, 2012

Insight: German sect victims seek escape from Chilean nightmare past

KREFELD, Germany (Reuters) – - Werner Schmidtke has a recurring nightmare: he is in a room full of boys strapped to metal beds, naked and blindfolded with wax plugs in their ears, being tortured by a man with an electric prod. Any boy who screams is plunged into a tub full of freezing water and given more electric shocks.

For Schmidtke, who is now 51, the scene is all too real. He was subjected to this treatment as a youngster in a building known as “Neukra” (short for “New Hospital” in German) in Colonia Dignidad, a secretive sect set up in central Chile in 1961 by Paul Schaefer, a German World War Two medic turned evangelical preacher.

May 7, 2012

Germany unmoved by anti-austerity votes in Europe

BERLIN, May 7 (Reuters) – Germany is ruling out any
substantive shift in its approach to Europe’s debt crisis
despite a rising chorus of opposition to Berlin’s austerity
policies that reached a crescendo in Sunday’s elections in
Greece and France.

Chancellor Angela Merkel, speaking in Berlin on Monday,
rejected the notion that Europe was on the brink of a major
policy shift after Socialist Francois Hollande defeated her
fellow conservative Nicolas Sarkozy and Greek voters punished
ruling parties who slashed spending to secure a foreign bailout.

Apr 24, 2012

German left must focus fight on Merkel’s austerity

BERLIN (Reuters) – Germany’s hard left could imitate the relative success of French radicals in the first round of the presidential vote there if it concentrates on attacking Chancellor Angela Merkel’s European austerity drive, a leading German leftist said on Tuesday.

Senior Left party parliamentarian Sahra Wagenknecht told Reuters her party had more to offer disenchanted voters than the upstart Pirates, who came from nowhere to become the third force in German politics in the latest opinion polls.

Mar 29, 2012

German opposition warns Merkel on fiscal pact, ESM

BERLIN, March 29 (Reuters) – Germany’s opposition Social
Democrats warned Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government on
Thursday not to take their support for new euro zone
crisis-fighting measures for granted, saying more work was
needed to convince lawmakers.

Speaking in the Bundestag lower house of parliament at the
start of a debate on the bloc’s new budget discipline pact and
bailout facility, Social Democrat (SPD) parliamentary leader
Frank-Walter Steinmeier accused the government of misleading the
German people by reversing its position on the bloc’s firewall.

Mar 26, 2012

Merkel heads back to future with SPD after allies’ rout

BERLIN, March 26 (Reuters) – German Chancellor Angela Merkel
may have no option but to revive her old alliance with the
centre-left opposition after federal elections in 2013, as her
current Free Democrat coalition partners face likely further
humiliation in regional polls this year.

Merkel may even end up happier in a marriage of convenience
with the Social Democrats than in what once seemed to be a love
match with the centre-right FDP, who were already banished to
the electoral wilderness in the state of Saarland on Sunday.

Mar 25, 2012

Merkel’s CDU wins in German state but allies out

BERLIN, March 25 (Reuters) – Angela Merkel’s Free Democrat
(FDP) coalition partners crashed out of the assembly in the
state of Saarland on Sunday with just 1.5 percent of the vote,
according to exit polls, continuing a dismal run which has
weakened Germany’s centre-right government.

The chancellor’s Christian Democrats (CDU) looked set to win
the state election and were likely to seek a coalition with the
second-placed Social Democrats (SPD), a trend which may be
repeated in national elections next year.

Mar 23, 2012

New president vows to steel Germany against extremism

BERLIN (Reuters) – Joachim Gauck, a Protestant pastor and anti-Communist activist from former East Germany, was sworn in on Friday as Germany’s 11th post-war president, promising to use his experience of tyranny to stand up to the far-right and other extremists.

The election of 72-year-old Gauck last Sunday has raised hopes that a charismatic figure of such ethical stature can revive faith in a post which is largely ceremonial but symbolically important for Germany following his predecessor’s ignominious exit.

Feb 27, 2012

Merkel scrapes win on Greek bailout, rebels grow

BERLIN (Reuters) – German Chancellor Angela Merkel scraped through a parliamentary vote endorsing a second bailout for Greece on Monday but faced a growing backbench revolt against pouring in more money in support of the euro zone.

The comfortable 496-90 victory, with five abstentions, was inflated by centre-left opposition support, but only 304 of Merkel’s 330 centre-right coalition lawmakers backed the motion.

Feb 27, 2012

Merkel resists conflicting pressures in Greek vote

BERLIN (Reuters) – Germany’s parliament was set to endorse the latest Greek bailout on Monday after Chancellor Angela Merkel rejected both domestic pressure to stop throwing good money after bad and international pleas to boost Europe’s crisis defences.

The world’s leading economies in the G20 piled pressure on Berlin at the weekend to drop opposition to a bigger European bailout fund, telling Europe it must put up extra money if it wanted more help from other countries.

    • About Stephen

      "I moved to Berlin to run our German political, economic and general news file in 2010 after nearly four years as chief correspondent in Rome covering Berlusconi, the L'Aquila earthquake, G8 summit and Vatican. I was Nordic and Baltic bureau chief for 3-1/2 years and bureau chief of southern Latin America, based in Buenos Aires, for eight years including the Argentine collapse in 2001/2002. My first assignments for Reuters were in Spain, Portugal and our HQ in London. Before Reuters I worked for the Financial Times Group."
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