Chief Correspondent, Germany
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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.

Feb 27, 2012

Merkel torn by conflicting pressures in Greek vote

BERLIN (Reuters) – Germany’s parliament was almost certain to endorse a second Greek bailout on Monday but Chancellor Angela Merkel was torn between domestic pressure to stop throwing good money after bad and global calls to boost Europe’s crisis defenses.

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.

Feb 24, 2012

Cold War tactics against Germany’s Left under scrutiny

BERLIN, Feb 24 (Reuters) – In case there was any doubt
about the ideology of Germany’s Left Party, its leaders have
brought out a cookbook that includes such favourites as
“anti-Atomic waffles” and Soljanka, a feisty Russian soup that
was popular in communist East Germany.

Hardly subversive. Even Chancellor Angela Merkel admits to
“Ostalgie” (nostalgia for the German Democratic Republic, where
she grew up) when it comes to the soup.

Feb 17, 2012

PenPix: Possible candidates for German presidency

BERLIN (Reuters) – Germany’s conservative Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Friday she would consult the centre-left opposition about a consensus candidate to replace Christian Wulff, who quit over a series of allegations about favours and his private finances.

Merkel hand-picked Wulff, a politician from her Christian Democratic Union (CDU), for the largely ceremonial post of head of state in 2010 after the former International Monetary Fund head Horst Koehler resigned as German president.

    • 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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