• Germany's news in English

Merkel doesn't want Obama speech at Brandenburg Gate

The Local · 9 Jul 2008, 16:03

Published: 09 Jul 2008 16:03 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Merkel doesn't think the US election battle should be played out in front of the gate, and said she viewed the possibility of Obama culminating his July 24 visit to Berlin at the famous landmark with "certain displeasure," government spokesperson Thomas Steg said on Wednesday.

The decision as to whether Obama will be allowed to give a speech before the iconic monument lies with the city senate. In the past, only elected US presidents have been allowed to use the Brandenburg Gate for their addresses.

Foreign Minister Frank Walter Steinmeier, on the other hand, doesn't see a problem with allowing Obama the use of Pariser Platz, his spokesperson Jens Plötner said Wednesday.

But the question of where Obama might give a speech on his campaign stop in Berlin is causing tension between Merkel and Berlin's Mayor Wowereit, who said on Tuesday he would be happy to see Obama speak at the Brandenburg Gate. Some politicians and journalists have accused Wowereit of having selfish reasons for encouraging Berlin senate approval of the speech, though.

"Do you think Wowi [Wowereit's nickname] would let the opportunity to appear with Barack Obama go by?" Green Party deputy floor leader Jürgen Trittin said on German broadcaster N24 recently. "I think he's saying, 'He should go on, I'll be in the photo, and everything will be great'."

Obama has also been accused of wanting to use the Brandenburg Gate to cultivate media hype that he is the next JFK. "With the planned speech in Berlin at the Brandenburg gate, Obama is aiming for the Kennedy effect," German news magazine Der Spiegel's Washington correspondent Marc Pitzke wrote on Tuesday. "He is using this to tie himself to Kennedy's 1963 Berlin visit to The Wall and his 'Ich bin ein Berliner' speech at the Schöneberg city hall."

While the German government waits on the Berlin senate vote, they have offered a potential compromise: Obama will be allowed to walk through the Brandenburg Gate.

"Every other important American guest has gone through the Brandenburg Gate," Karsten Voigt, government coordinator for German-American relations told Der Spiegel on Tuesday. "There were always journalists present, and the guest was always able to say something too."

Story continues below…

The Berlin visit will be part of a European tour that is set to include stops in Germany, France and the UK.


The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Today's headlines
Obama to visit Berlin in last presidential trip to Germany
President Barack Obama and Chancellor Angela Merkel during a Berlin trip in 2013. Photo: DPA.

The White House announced on Tuesday that US President Barack Obama will be paying one last unexpected visit to the German capital - his last before he leaves office.

Hostility towards minorities 'widespread in Bavaria'
A village in southern Bavaria. Photo: DPA.

Hate and hostility towards groups deemed to be different are not just sentiments felt by fringe extremists, a new report on Bavaria shows.

Hated RB Leipzig emerge as shock challengers to Bayern
RB Leipzig. Photo: DPA

RB Leipzig's remarkable unbeaten start to the Bundesliga season has seen them suddenly emerge at the head of the pack chasing reigning champions and league leaders Bayern Munich.

Munich taxi driver in hospital after attack by British tourists
Photo: DPA

A taxi driver had to be hospitalized in Munich on Monday evening after three British tourists refused to pay their fare and then attacked him.

German police carry out nationwide anti-terror raids
Police outside a building in Jena during raids on Tuesday. Photo: DPA

Police forces in five German states carried out raids on Tuesday morning with the aim of tackling the financing of terror groups, police in Thuringia have reported.

The Local List
10 ways German completely messes up your English
Photo: DPA

So you've mastered German, but now it's time to learn English all over again.

Iconic German church being eroded away by human urine
Ulm Minster towering over the rest Ulm surrounding the Danube. Photo: Pixabay

It will now cost you €100 to spend a penny. That’s if you get caught choosing to pee against the world-famous Ulm Minster.

German small arms ammo exports grow ten-fold
Photo: DPA

The government has come in for criticism after new figures revealed that Germany exported ten times the quantity of small arms ammunition in the first half of 2016 as in the same period last year.

14-year-old stabs 'creepy clown' in prank gone wrong
File photo: DPA.

A 16-year-old in Berlin decided he wanted to scare some friends, but his plot backfired in a violent way.

Four Ku Klux Klan groups active in Germany, says govt
An American member of the KKK at a gathering in Georgia. Photo: EPA.

The German government estimates that there are four Ku Klux Klan (KKK) groups currently active in the country, according to a report by the Süddeutsche Zeitung (SZ) on Tuesday.

Germany's 10 most weird and wonderful landmarks
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
10 things you never knew about socialist East Germany
How Germans fell in love with America's favourite squash
How I ditched London for Berlin and became a published author
12 clever German idioms that'll make you sound like a pro
23 fascinating facts you never knew about Berlin
9 unmissable events to check out in Germany this October
10 things you never knew about German reunification
10 things you're sure to notice after an Oktoberfest visit
Germany's 10 most Instagram-able places
15 pics that prove Germany is absolutely enchanting in autumn
10 German films you have to watch before you die
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
Eleven famous Germans with surnames that'll make your sides split
The best ways to get a visa as an American in Germany
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd