News / Europe

Merkel Ends Campaign Battling Euroskeptics

German Chancellor and conservative Christian Democratic Union (CDU) leader Angela Merkel (C) waves after giving a speech during a CDU election campaign rally in Berlin, Sept. 21, 2013.
German Chancellor and conservative Christian Democratic Union (CDU) leader Angela Merkel (C) waves after giving a speech during a CDU election campaign rally in Berlin, Sept. 21, 2013.
Reuters
Angela Merkel wrapped up her re-election campaign on Saturday with an appeal to defend Europe and her center-right coalition against Euroskeptics who threaten to break into the German parliament for the first time in Sunday's election.
    
With a third of the 62 million voters still undecided and the small Alternative for Germany (AfD) tapping into impatience with euro zone bailouts, Europe's most powerful leader risks spending her third term in an awkward right-left coalition.
    
"Lots of people won't make up their mind until the last minute. Now is the time to reach every undecided voter and get their support," she told supporters in Berlin, before flying to her Baltic coast constituency for a final campaign stop.
    
She did not name the AfD, who have emerged in seven months to become the wild card of Germany's first federal election since the euro zone debt crisis began. The AfD wants Greece and other struggling states to be expelled from the single currency.
    
But Merkel spent half her speech defending the European Union, which had been largely ignored in the campaign because her Christian Democrats (CDU) and the main opposition Social Democrats (SPD) mostly agree on how to tackle the crisis.
    
"Europe is economically important, yes, but it is much more than that. Next year we'll be thinking back to the start of the World War I 100 years ago," said the 59-year-old chancellor. "Most of us here have never had to live through war."
    
"In the coming years we must keeping working for the success of this wonderful continent," she said to loud applause.
    
Supporters of the anti-euro party, the Alternative for Germany (AfD) sail a boat next to the square where German Chancellor Angela Merkel is holding an election campaign rally in Stralsund, Sept. 21, 2013.
   
Supporters of the anti-euro party, the Alternative for Germany (AfD) sail a boat next to the square where German Chancellor Angela Merkel is holding an election campaign rally in Stralsund, Sept.21, 2013.Supporters of the anti-euro party, the Alternative for Germany (AfD) sail a boat next to the square where German Chancellor Angela Merkel is holding an election campaign rally in Stralsund, Sept.21, 2013.
x
Supporters of the anti-euro party, the Alternative for Germany (AfD) sail a boat next to the square where German Chancellor Angela Merkel is holding an election campaign rally in Stralsund, Sept.21, 2013.
Supporters of the anti-euro party, the Alternative for Germany (AfD) sail a boat next to the square where German Chancellor Angela Merkel is holding an election campaign rally in Stralsund, Sept.21, 2013.
The AfD's rapid rise in the polls forced the CDU to change tactics at the last minute. After studiously ignoring it, they brought out respected Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble this week to attack it as "dangerous" for Germany's economy.
    
Polls put Merkel's conservatives about 13 percentage points ahead of the SPD, meaning she will almost certainly become the third post-war chancellor to win a third term. The other two were Konrad Adenauer, who oversaw post-war reconstruction, and Helmut Kohl who led the country through reunification.
    
But her coalition with the struggling Free Democrats (FDP) and the combined leftist opposition are neck-and-neck in polls, making the vote in Europe's largest economy too close to call.
    
She could win a slim majority with the FDP or be forced into talks with the SPD that could drag on for months and result in changes to her cabinet, including the departure from the finance ministry of Schaeuble, who has been a key player in the crisis.
    
The AfD's surge to just under the 5-percent threshold for, entering the Bundestag lower house risks depriving Merkel of her center-right majority and stirs concern about Euroskepticism — though the party's impact on policy would be limited.
    
"Keep cool and vote for our chancellor!" and "Angie" read banners in the crowd of about 4,000 CDU supporters in a Berlin boxing arena just around the corner from SPD headquarters.
    
"Merkel is doing a great job leading the country and deserves another term," said Wolfgang Schwarz, a 54-year-old lawyer who voiced uncertainty about what kind of governing coalition would emerge after Sunday's election.
    
Theresa Neubauer, a 25-year-old entrepreneur, said Merkel's speech was "full of passion" on Europe. "I don't like the AfD and I hope they don't get into parliament on Sunday," she said.
    
'Rabble-rousers'
   
But while Merkel has high popularity ratings, not everyone is convinced. Ingrid Gaukler, a 35-year-old actress, said she did not like Merkel and was "dragged" to the rally by a friend.
    
"I don't like her energy policies, I don't like the way the CDU gives preferential tax treatment to married couples and I want to see a minimum wage. Her policies are only designed to help the rich," she said. "But I'm here with an open mind."
    
The top-candidate of the Social Democratic Party (SPD) Peer Steinbrueck speaks during an election campaign rally at Roemerberg square in Frankfurt, Germany, Sept. 21, 2013.The top-candidate of the Social Democratic Party (SPD) Peer Steinbrueck speaks during an election campaign rally at Roemerberg square in Frankfurt, Germany, Sept. 21, 2013.
x
The top-candidate of the Social Democratic Party (SPD) Peer Steinbrueck speaks during an election campaign rally at Roemerberg square in Frankfurt, Germany, Sept. 21, 2013.
The top-candidate of the Social Democratic Party (SPD) Peer Steinbrueck speaks during an election campaign rally at Roemerberg square in Frankfurt, Germany, Sept. 21, 2013.
The top-candidate of the Social Democratic Party (SPD) Peer Steinbrueck speaks during an election campaign rally at Roemerberg square in Frankfurt, Germany, Sept. 21, 2013.
 
Merkel's challenger Peer Steinbrueck has had a tough time convincing voters that his SPD can do a better job.
    
She is credited with leading Europe safely through the debt crisis and ensuring Germany economic growth and an unemployment rate that is near post-unification lows. Steinbrueck, who argues that Merkel has spread income inequality, wants higher taxes on the rich and a minimum wage of 8.50 euros an hour.
    
Steinbrueck was finance minister in Merkel's last 'grand coalition' with the SPD from 2005-2009, which cost his party millions of votes in 2009. It has since veered further left and would exact a high price for joining another Merkel government.
    
"In 28 hours you can get rid of them, you can get rid of the most backward-looking, least capable, most loud-mouthed German government since reunification," the SPD candidate told a final rally in Frankfurt, Germany's financial center.
    
But he joined Merkel in defending the euro against critical voices like the AfD, whom he calls "rabble-rousers".
    
Steinbrueck, whose party could push German policy on the EU closer to the pro-growth and pro-integration stance of southern euro states and France, said a collapse of the euro and return of the deutsche mark would be ruinous for Germany and Europe.
    
"We are the first generation not be sacrificed on the slaughter fields," he said. "That is an exception in German history and means we have a clear responsibility to Europe."

You May Like

Changing Under Pressure, IS ‘Potent’ as Ever

US intel officials describe Ramadi's fall as concerning, but say it isn't emblematic of larger effort to degrade IS capabilities More

Nigeria Fuel Shortage Shows Fragility of Africa’s Oil Giant

Although it is the largest oil producer in Africa, country has nearly ran out of fuel it needs to power its generators, cars and airplanes over the past week More

Arrested Football Officials Come Mainly From the Americas

US Justice Department alleges defendants participated in 24-year scheme to enrich themselves through corruption of international soccer More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Andy Howsla from: Bavaria/Germany
September 22, 2013 7:25 AM
Everything the German treasury minister, Wolfgang Schäuble, is doing to "save" the Euro is poison to the economically still healthy countries in the EU.
He is taking over liabilities that have already come to an amount of 622 billion €, whereas the total debt accumulated mostly in the southern part of the the euro-zone is at 13 trillion € (!).
This would mean, if the Merkel policy of saving the euro (properly saving the debt-ridden banks) should be carried on, the German tax-payer would be liable for 4 to 5 trillion €. That's mad.

And that's why the AfD has grown that fast; the party does NOT want to "expel" the Greek or other weak nations from the euro-zone just like this, but it wants to give them back the possibility to become cheaper in the interior and regain their capacity to compete by devaluing their own currency (it's their ONLY possibility to recover).
They cannot do so within the euro-zone, where they HAVE TO accumulate gigantic sums of debts.

Merkel is blackmailed by banks and investors who want a bail-out from their gambling-losses: they say to her: give us the taxpayers' money or we'll disappear with our investments leaving behind a bankrupt Europe and a lot of questions coming to you from your (former) voters.

AfD stands for a peaceful Europe of individual (national) responsibility and freedom, values the German government is fighting against at the moment by its own policy.

The AfD leader, Professor Dr. Bernd Lucke (professor of political economics) is a very intelligent and very honorable, upright man.


Nobody can unite Europe by force .And nobody will.
That's what we're fighting for.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Cari
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X
George Putic
May 27, 2015 9:31 PM
Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video US Voters Seek Answers From Presidential Candidates on IS Gains

The growth of the Islamic State militant group in Iraq and Syria comes as the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign kicks off in the Midwest state of Iowa.   As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, voters want to know how the candidates would handle recent militant gains in the Middle East.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Film Festival Looks at Indigenous Peoples, Culture Conflict

A recent Los Angeles film festival highlighted the plight of people caught between two cultures. Mike O'Sullivan has more on the the Garifuna International Film Festival, a Los Angeles forum created by a woman from Central America who wants the world to know more about her culture.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video US-led Coalition Gives Some Weapons to Iraqi Troops

In a video released Tuesday from the Iraqi Ministry of Defense, Iraqi forces and U.S.-led coalition troops survey a cache of weapons supplied to help Iraq liberate Mosul from Islamic State group. According to a statement provided with the video, the ministry and the U.S.-led coaltion troops have started ''supplying the 16th army division with medium and light weapons in preparation to liberate Mosul and nearby areas from Da'esh (Arabic acronym for Islamic State group).''
Video

Video Amnesty International: 'Overwhelming Evidence' of War Crimes in Ukraine

Human rights group Amnesty International says there is overwhelming evidence of ongoing war crimes in Ukraine, despite a tentative cease-fire with pro-Russian rebels. Researchers interviewed more than 30 prisoners from both sides of the conflict and all but one said they were tortured. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Washington Parade Honors Those Killed Serving in US Military

Every year, on the last Monday in the month of May, millions of Americans honor the memories of those killed while serving in the armed forces. Memorial Day is a tradition that dates back to the 19th Century. While many people celebrate the federal holiday with a barbecue and a day off from work, for those who’ve served in the military, it’s a special day to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Arash Arabasadi reports for VOA from Washington.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.

VOA Blogs