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

EU Court Fines Poland for Hosting CIA 'Black Sites'

Ruling is first time a court has acknowledged suspects were held and tortured at the sites, under US program launched following the 9/11 terrorist attacks More

Migrant Issues Close to Home Spur Groups to Take Action

Groups placing water, food in the desert, or aiding detainees after release, have one common goal: no more deaths of migrants crossing illegally into the US More

Video At AIDS Conference, Prevention Pill Stirs Excitement

Truveda shows promise, spurring debate over access and other approaches 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.
Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debatei
X
Shelley Schlender
July 24, 2014 6:43 PM
In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Death Toll From Israel-Gaza Conflict Surpasses 700

Gaza officials say a shelling hit a compound housing a United Nations-run school in the Gaza Strip, killing more than a dozen people, during an Israeli offensive in the area. Heavy fighting between the Israeli military and Hamas militants continued on Thursday, pushing up the death toll. So far, more than 730 Palestinians and 35 Israelis have been killed in the conflict. VOA's Scott Bobb has the latest from Jerusalem.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video Israel Targets Gaza Supply Tunnels

The Israeli military has launched a ground operation in Gaza to destroy the myriad tunnels that may have been used to smuggle weapons to Hamas. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports that could mean more hardship for the people of Gaza, who obtain some of their essential supplies through these underground passages
Video

Video Researchers Target Low-Cost Avatar Technology

Scientists at the University of Southern California Institute for Creative Technologies say 3-dimensional representations could revolutionize social media. Elizabeth Lee has more from Los Angeles.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.

AppleAndroid