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Merkel attacks 'obstructionist' Greens

The Local · 24 Nov 2010, 17:14

Published: 24 Nov 2010 17:14 GMT+01:00

The debate took place in the shadow of the ongoing terrorism alert in Germany, with dozens of elite police officers patrolling barricades around an eerily silent Reichstag after it was closed off to the public earlier this week due to reports of a planned attack.

But the sight of the building’s empty glass dome, a symbol of an open democracy, failed to direct the debate to security issues. Though she called on the nation for continued vigilance in the face of the terror threat, Merkel engaged the opposition in a heated exchange of fire, focussing on the environmentalist Greens, who she repeatedly called an “obstructionist party.”

After lauding her conservative Christian Democrats and their junior coalition partner party, the pro-business Free Democrats, for spearheading Germany’s economic recovery in what she called the “autumn of decisions” one year after elections, Merkel attacked.

“The Greens are closely connected to the word ‘against,’” the Chancellor said.

While they may say they are in favour of rail traffic, they are working tirelessly against the controversial rail project Stuttgart 21, despite the fact that it was decided upon years ago, she said. The party also says it approves of sports, but won’t support attempts to bring the Winter Olympics to Germany, she said.

“If it goes on like this, then the Greens will be for Christmas, but against the run-up time of Advent,” she joked.

“This isn’t how it goes. They won’t make it this way,” she added, saying the party was unrealistic.

Merkel’s words echoed recent criticism from her fellow coalition politicians, who have gone on the offensive as the Green party enjoys record popularity. At well over 20 percent in approval polls, the ecologist party threatens to oust the CDU in Baden-Württemberg during state elections in March. A defeat for the CDU in the southern state after 60 years at the helm would destabilise Merkel’s power on a federal level.

FDP parliamentary group leader Birgit Homburger meanwhile used almost all of her podium time to attack the Greens too, calling their recent participation in anti-nuclear and Stuttgart 21 protests hypocritical.

“We won’t accept that the last resort in this country is a sit-in blockade,” she said furiously.

But Homburger’s Green party counterpart and candidate for Berlin mayor Renate Künast responded to the criticism with ease.

“We’ll gladly take the gloves off when you throw them our way,” she said, adding it was clear the country must choose between Merkel’s conservatives and the Greens.

“The people have an opinion 365 days a year, and not just when there are elections,” she added.

Merkel largely sidestepped addressing the centre-left Social Democrats, who continue to register dismal poll results, but the traditional opposition party still managed to deliver a few blows.

Story continues below…

Parliamentary group leader for the party Frank-Walter Steinmeier called her coalition’s first year a “nightmare” that was dividing the nation.

“It is a government that serves its own clientele instead of serving the greater good,” he said, referring to the recent health care reform and the extension of Germany’s nuclear power plant operational schedules.

“Never before has there been so much confusion, so much lack of orientation, so much flippancy,” he said.

DAPD/DPA/The Local/ka

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

21:04 November 24, 2010 by tianju
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
19:56 November 26, 2010 by DrGideonPolya
The greed- and growth-driven right wing conservatives are increasingly shown up by the sensible arguments of the pro-planet, pro-environment, conservationist Greens.

1. Rail is fine but not at any price.

2. In a carbon-based economy expenditure is directly proportional to carbon footprint and hence "less is better" (except for installation of renewable energy infrastructure).

3. The species extinction rate is presently 100-1,000 times greater than normal and cessation of this mass species extinction is a primary challenge for Humanity. If you can't even save the man-made Stuttgart Schlossgarten and Hauptbahnhof what hope is there for the difficult task of saving the Biosphere?

4. Eminent climate scientist Professor Hans Joachim Schellnhuber (Director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research) says that the World must reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions to zero (0) by 2050 if we are to have a 67% chance of avoiding a disastrous 2C temperature rise (poor odds: would you board a plane that had a 33% chance of crashing?). As a relatively high annual per capita greenhouse gas (GHG) polluter, Germany's share of this task (all men being equal) is to reduce to zero CO2 emissions by about 2027 (see Schellnhuber "Terra quasi-incognita: beyond the 2oC line") and this is far more likely to be achieved under Green policies rather than greed- and growth -based right wing conservative policies.

5. The Greens support not only survival of the Biosphere but also conservation of human societies whether in Stuttgart or in Occupied Afghanistan where the Merkel-backed Afghan War is associated with 311,000 under-5 infant deaths every year (see UNICEF) and has so far been associated with 4.9 million violent deaths and non-violent avoidable deaths from deprivation (an Afghan Holocaust and an Afghan Genocide according to Article 2 of the UN Genocide Convention (see Afghan Holocaust, Afghan Genocide).

No wonder decent Germans are increasingly supporting the civilized Greens and rejecting the "democratic fascism" of the greed- and growth-driven right wing conservatives.
10:00 November 27, 2010 by derExDeutsche
CO2 is vital to life. its what makes life on earth possible. Gore has been exposed as a fraud. Funny how many years it takes Europe to get 'the Joke'. Lost in Translation? or they really just don't care about truth. Global Warming to Climate Change to Species Extinction ... They all exude just enough fear and fright for all the gullible Govt Lovers to swing their collective hatred of a democratic and free market society behind. You're such a rebels, Kooks! :Yawn: Why don't the greens show us how its REALLY done. Hey, with the Afghan Genocide, I am sure there are plenty of vacant caves to call home. Do it, Get back to the Basics, Moon Bats!

Or what about Daily Rolling Black Outs? You know, as the politicians tell the people, "for the 'Climate'". Exactly like they do in Nicaragua, Venezuela, Bolivia and Cuba. Whats funny is, or maybe not so funny, the leaders of those hell holes could be considered the sister parties to the 'Greens'. hmm. Go Germany, Wooohoo!
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