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POLITICS

Schmidt slammed for stolen limo

Health minister Ulla Schmidt faced a barrage of criticism from political rivals Monday after her official vehicle was stolen while she was visiting Spain.

Schmidt slammed for stolen limo
Photo: DPA

Schmidt was visiting Alicante on vacation and had paid for her personal airfare there. As she also planned to attend some events in Spain in her official capacity and had her driver make the 2,387 kilometre journey from Berlin the €90,000 Mercedes S-Class to ferry her around. No details are currently available about the circumstances of the theft.

Political opponents have seized on the affair. Georg Schirmbeck, a budget expert for the Christian Democratic Union, which currently shares power in an uneasy coalition with Schmidt’s Social Democratic Party, denounced Schmidt in an interview published the daily Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung.

“As health minister Schmidt’s time in office has already expired, it’s not necessary to call for her resignation. But having made such a hash of things, it’s clear she’s the wrong woman to be in the cabinet,” Schirmbeck said.

Patrick Döring, a parliamentarian from the opposition Free Democratic Party, which hopes to replace the SDP in a coalition with the CDU, joined in criticising Schmidt.

“I can’t imagine that the German embassy in Madrid wasn’t in the position to be able to give the minister a ride to one or more speeches,” Döring said in an interview with the daily Neue Presse.

Schmidt’s spokeswoman said Sunday she intended to use the car only for official functions such as a meeting on Monday with German pensioners living in Spain. The spokeswoman said Schmidt had been vacationing in the area for years and had privately rented a vehicle for her personal travel, according to a report in Monday’s Tagesspiegel newspaper.

The incident is sure to become fodder in the campaign leading up to national elections on September 27. Schmidt’s SPD is struggling to gain traction with voters and is far behind in the polls.

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CULTURE

Pay women footballers the same as men, says German chancellor

Chancellor Olaf Scholz on Tuesday made a push for equal pay for men and women international footballers after Germany's successful run at the recent European Championships.

Pay women footballers the same as men, says German chancellor

“My position on this is clear,” Scholz said after a meeting with the German Football Association (DFB) to discuss the issue.

“We talked about how we can continue to help more girls and women get excited about football. Of course, the wages at such tournaments play a major role in this,” he said.

“That’s why it makes sense to discuss equal pay. I made the suggestion and I’m very grateful that there is a willingness to discuss this issue.”

Germany scored their biggest major tournament success since 2015 at this year’s European Championships, losing to England in the final at Wembley.

Scholz attended the final and also supported the women’s team by tweeting: “It’s 2022, and women and men should be paid equally. This also applies to sport, especially for national teams.”

READ ALSO: Scholz to cheer on Germany at Euro 2022 final

Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) visits the DFP headquarters on Tuesday.

Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) visits the DFP (German Football Association) headquarters on Tuesday. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Sebastian Gollnow

Germany’s women would have received €60,000 each if they had triumphed at the tournament, while the men would have received €400,000 each had they prevailed at the Euros last year.

Bernd Neuendorf, president of the DFB, said he understood the argument “that equal work and success should also have the same value”.

“I’m willing to discuss in our committees whether our payment system is up to date or whether it should be adjusted,” he said.

Germany coach Martina Voss-Tecklenburg suggested that international footballers’ wages could be evened out by paying women more and men less.

Officials must now “follow up with action” after the meeting, she said in an interview with the ZDF broadcaster.

Scholz said he was “very, very proud” of the women’s performance at the Euros, even if “it didn’t quite work out”.

“I hope it will have a long-lasting effect, not only on the players themselves… but also on football in Germany,” he said.

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