• Germany's news in English

Müntefering: Obama will be 'demanding'

AFP/The Local · 21 Jan 2009, 09:36

Published: 21 Jan 2009 09:36 GMT+01:00

“He will be difficult for us Germans and Europeans. He’ll be demanding. But we could do with a bit of that,” Müntefering told the daily Passauer Neue Presse. “We could use a little pioneer spirit in Europe too.”

Obama has said greater cooperation with US allies will be a hallmark of his foreign policy after the divisive years of the Bush administration.

Berlin is hoping Washington will agree to new guidelines for the global financial markets. But the German government also fears the new US leader will demand greater military contributions to the NATO mission in Afghanistan – which is widely unpopular in Germany.

“I hope there will be an intensive cooperation between the USA and Europe,” said Müntefering. “Both will have to grapple with a large responsibility.”

The SPD's coalition partner at the federal level, Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservative Christian Democratic Union (CDU), is also girding itself for changes to US foreign policy that could affect Germany.

CDU vice chairman Andreas Schockenhoff has drawn up a position paper calling for the United Nations to create an "international contact group" of world powers to end the war in Afghanistan.

The paper said it should include the five permanent UN Security Council members - the United States, Britain, France, China and Russia - as well as the European Union. Any group should also include Afghanistan and Pakistan and other neighbours, the document said.

Iran was not expressly named in the paper, but the German media quoted Schockenhoff as saying the CDU would welcome Iran's participation.

Story continues below…

"The group should aim to reach an international consensus...that the stability of Afghanistan should be an objective of the utmost importance," the paper said, adding that weakening al Qaida is "a common interest" to the international community.

Presented on the day of US President Barack Obama's inauguration and under the title "For A Closer Transatlantic Partnership," the Christian Democrats also welcomed the new US leader raising the possibility of direct talks with Iran on its nuclear programme.

AFP/The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Today's headlines
Germany sees 'turning point' in birth rate decline
Children at a a kindergarten in Swabia. Photo: Nikolaus Lenau/Flickr

Is Germany's three-decade decline in birth rate now over?

Trump protesters rebuild and tear down 'Berlin Wall'
The 'Stop Trump' protest at the Brandenburg Gate. Photo: DPA.

US expats gathered at the Berlin's iconic Brandenburg Gate on Friday "rebuild" the Berlin Wall and protest US presidential candidate Donald Trump's own proposed wall-building.

Accusation of sexism within Merkel's party creates uproar
Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen and Chancellor Angela Merkel, two leading women in the CDU party. Photo: DPA.

A young politician from the ranks of Angela Merkel's Christian Democratic Union (CDU) has caused a storm by suggesting that the party is institutionally sexist.

EasyJet 'in talks to buy German airline' to duck Brexit
Photo: DPA

EasyJet is in talks to acquire TUIfly, a board member of the German carrier said Friday, as the British no-frills airline looks for ways to keep flying freely within the EU after Britain quits the bloc.

Symbols of migrant plight to go on show in Bonn museum
Photo: DPA

A people smugglers' car, a dinghy and a life jacket are among items related to Europe's migration crisis due to go on display at a German museum.

Green party demand 'quick and easy' citizenship for Brits
Photo: DPA

The Green party has called for Brits living in Germany to be offered a painless path to obtaining dual citizenship as to "reassure them over the future".

Berlin the new London? 10m2 flat to rent for €750 a month
Photo: Immonet.de.

This shoebox apartment in the gentrified Bergmann-Kiez neighbourhood may be a sign that the tides are turning for Berlin’s comparatively cheap housing market.

Far-right AfD reach record high in national poll
AfD leader Frauke Petry. Photo: DPA.

The Alternative for Germany (AfD) was backed by 16 percent of respondents in a new poll, which was a new high for the upstart populist party.

Bautzen youth beat up pensioner in racist attack
Photo: DPA

In the Saxon town of Bautzen, which has become a byword for racism and anti-migrant sentiment, two youths have attacked a 72-year-old man, shouting 'foreigners out'.

German lawmakers ratify landmark Paris climate accord
The German parliament (Bundestag). Photo: DPA.

Germany's lower of house of parliament on Thursday ratified the Paris agreement on climate change, following in the footsteps of 60 other countries that have committed to the landmark agreement designed to stem the planet's rising temperatures.

Sponsored Article
The Inner Circle: the secret to dating in Berlin
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
Seven great reasons to stay in Germany this September
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
Sponsored Article
Retiring abroad: ensuring your health is covered
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
Sponsored Article
Life in Jordan: 'Undiscovered treasure'
Eleven famous Germans with surnames that'll make your sides split
The best ways to get a visa as an American in Germany
Sponsored Article
The Inner Circle: the secret to dating in Berlin
Germany's 17 Olympic gold medals in pictures
14 facts you never knew about the Brandenburg Gate
Ten times Germans proved they really, really love beer
Six things you need to know when moving to Germany
These 10 little-known German towns are a must see
German scientists prove birds can sleep while flying
London v. Berlin: Which is better for startups?
13 mortifying mistakes German learners always make
Enter if you dare: Berlin's best abandoned haunts
10 rookie errors all Brits make when they arrive in Germany
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd