• Germany's news in English

Westerwelle inflating the obvious on welfare, says Merkel

The Local · 25 Feb 2010, 09:00

Published: 25 Feb 2010 09:00 GMT+01:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

In an interview with the daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Merkel said wasn't helpful to couch ''self-evident'' truths – such as the fact it is better to work than be on welfare – as politically sensitive issues.

“Self-evident facts should remain self-evident, so that you can arrive at a good outcome on the issue,” Merkel told the paper.

Phrases such as “you are not allowed to say” certain things created the impression “of something being verbalised that is not self-evident, and that there is therefore a taboo.” But Westerwelle has used such phrases, Merkel said.

Westerwelle has recently claimed Germany’s workers were becoming the nation’s “suckers” and that people were not sufficiently rewarded for choosing to work rather than be on unemployment benefits.

Merkel herself has in the past raised the same issue – that there needed to be a clear financial benefit to working over welfare – though she has done it with considerably less provocative language.

In contrast to Westerwelle, Merkel also told the paper she did not think tougher sanctions against abuse of welfare entitlements were needed.

Story continues below…

Nevertheless, the current centre-rigth coalition of her conservative Christian Democrats, their Bavarian CSU allies, and Westerwelle's Free Democrats was the best one for the country, she said.

Merkel therefore backed a continuation of the “black-yellow” coalition following the coming state election in North Rhine-Westphalia, saying her Christian Democrats and the Greens were still too far apart to govern together there.

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

16:50 February 25, 2010 by michael4096
WW could be a successful anglo-saxon politician with his sound-bite policies but AM is just where she should be: focusing beyond tomorrow's headlines.
00:03 February 26, 2010 by Logic Guy
Well, the truth is, Angerla is a nice person. But she is not strong enough to be chancellor of such a large and complex nation. Like him or not, at least Westerwelle speaks the truth. He's not afraid like most politicians. Fear will take you no where.

If a nation does not have strong and effective leaders, then nearly every citizen will struggle. I'm sure we all agree.
03:23 February 26, 2010 by CalBill
Westerwelle speaks the truth -- listen to him before you become bankrupt supporting those who won't work.
Today's headlines
Student fined for spying on women via their webcams
Photo: DPA

Student from Munich fined €1,000 for spying on 32 different computers, using their webcams to take photographs, or record their keyboard history.

This is how much startup geeks earn in Germany
Photo: DPA

A comprehensive new survey of 143 startup founders shows how much you are likely to be earning at a German startup, from entry level all the way up to sitting on the board.

Man dies after beating for peeing near Freiburg church
The Johannes Church in Freiburg. Photo Jörgens Mi/Wikipedia

A middle-aged man from southern Germany has died after being attacked by a group of men who took umbrage with the fact he was urinating in the vicinity of a church.

The Local List
Seven German celebrities with uncanny doppelgängers
Former Berlin mayor Klaus Wowereit and actor Alec Baldwin. Photo: DPA; Gage Skidmore, Wikimedia Commons

Check out these seven look-a-likes of well known German figures - we admit that some are more tenuous than others...

Israel seeks to buy three new German submarines: report
A Dolphin class submarine. Photo: DPA

Israel is seeking to buy three more advanced submarines from Germany at a combined price of €1.2 billion, an Israeli newspaper reported Friday.

Here’s where people live the longest in Germany
Photo: DPA

Germans down south seem to know the secret to a long life.

More Germans identify as LGBT than in rest of Europe
Photo: DPA

The percentage of the German population which identifies as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender is higher than anywhere else in Europe, according to a new study.

'Reichsbürger' pair attack police in Saxony-Anhalt
File photo: DPA.

A "Reichsbürger" and his wife attacked police officers on Thursday, just a day after another Reichsbürger fatally shot an officer in Bavaria.

Five things not to miss at the Frankfurt Book Fair
Photo: DPA

From consulting a book doctor to immersing yourself in an author's world with the help of virtual reality, here are five things not to miss at this week's Frankfurt Book Fair, the world's largest publishing event.

Parents who don't get nursery spot for kid entitled to pay
Photo: DPA

The Federal Court of Justice (BGH) ruled on Thursday that parents whose children don't receive placements in nursery care are entitled to compensation.

Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
10 things you never knew about socialist East Germany
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
How Germans fell in love with America's favourite squash
How I ditched London for Berlin and became a published author
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
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