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Thread: Angela Merkel

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    Angela Merkel

    Angela Merkel considered intelligent, but a bit boring

    26. November 2004
    By Professor Dr. Elisabeth Noelle

    Her unusual background makes Angela Merkel, the chairwoman of the opposition Christian Democratic Union, something of an outsider in the German political scene. Merkel was born in Hamburg in 1954, but her father, a pastor, decided to take over a parish in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania and the family moved to East Germany as it became increasingly atheist. Like other exceptionally intelligent adolescents, Merkel decided to become a natural scientist and studied physics. However, the fact that she did not attend the obligatory Marxist seminars precluded her from becoming a teacher, her childhood dream.

    When the Berlin Wall fell on Nov. 9, 1989, Merkel slid into politics. While she did not like the eastern German Christian Democratic Party at the time, she felt drawn to the ”Alliance for Germany,” a movement initiated by then German Chancellor Helmut Kohl, which campaigned for and won the first free election in East Germany in March 1990. Angela Merkel had taken an active role in the election campaign. It soon became clear that she could talk in public and was naturally gifted with sharp political judgement. Helmut Kohl took her under his wing, calling her ”the girl.”

    Nobody would call her that anymore these days. Merkel matured extraordinarily during the 1990s. She was Federal Minister for Women and Youth between 1991 and 1994 and Federal Environmental Minister between 1994 and 1998. Merkel keeps her private life to herself. All we know is that her current marriage to a chemistry professor is her second marriage and that she has no children.

    Critics say she also has no charm or charisma. But the public perception is more differentiated. The Allensbach polling institute has tracked her popularity since the end of 1991, and since the mid-1990s her public image has often been favorable. In spring 2003, however, her popularity ratings collapsed. Suddenly, only 30 percent of all Germans were saying they had a good opinion of her, with 48 percent giving her a negative rating.

    What had happened? Angela Merkel had called the U.S. war in Iraq ”ultimately unavoidable” and was thus widely perceived as a proponent of war. Her popularity ratings have not recovered since then. Now, in autumn 2004, 29 percent of all Germans give Merkel a positive rating; 45 percent hold a negative view.

    Although a majority of Germans welcomes the fact that Merkel has managed to break into the male domain of party leadership, only one-third believe that she would be a good chancellor and most do not regard her as capable of improving Germany's economic situation. Only 25 percent say they would prefer Merkel to incumbent Chancellor Gerhard Schröder.

    Merkel is respected for her intellect, and beats the CDU's other potential chancellor candidates, Lower Saxony Premier Christian Wulff and Hesse Premier Roland Koch, on that score. But 45 percent of all Germans regard her as cold. And she is widely believed to lack the full backing of her party. Sixty-two percent of all Germans currently regard the CDU as deeply divided internally. Only 42 percent say the same thing of Schröder's governing Social Democratic Party.

    Although voters generally regard Merkel as opinionated and strong, 40 percent also call her ”boring.” Only 19 percent say this of Koch, and 12 percent of Wulff.


    Source: http://www.faz.net/s/Rub9E75B460C0744F8695B3E0BE5A30A620/Doc~E1060678DF8AF4C32B0F1337DD4314D1C~AT pl~Ecommon~Scontent.html

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    Its a good thing Social Democracy never caught on in the United States. Socialism and Communism have never had any real appeal here either.
    The Phora

    "There are no principles; there are only events. There is no good and bad, there are only circumstances. The superior man espouses events and circumstances in order to guide them. If there were principles and fixed laws, nations would not change them as we change our shirts and a man can not be expected to be wiser than an entire nation."
    —Honoré de Balzac

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    Merkel Wants 'Pro-Christian' EU Charter ?

    ""Merkel Wants EU Charter to Refer to Christianity.""

    Deutsche Welle. 21.01.2007

    Germany's chancellor and current EU president Angela Merkel has renewed criticism that the bloc's constitution does not explicitly refer to Europe's Christian roots, in an interview to be published Monday.

    Merkel told German news weekly Focus, in talks with German cardinal Karl Lehmann, that she regretted that the current draft constitution for the 27-member European Union did not include a mention of God or Christianity.

    "I would have liked to have seen a clearer declaration on the Christian roots (of Europe)," she said.
    "No one doubts that they significantly shape our life, our society," the chancellor said.
    "I wonder, can we maintain the formative aspects of Christianity for day-to-day politics if the political sphere does not stand by them?"

    Merkel vows to revive EU charter

    The comments come days after Merkel outlined her plans to jumpstart the stalled bid to establish a first-ever constitution for the EU, whose presidency Germany holds through June.
    Barroso has welcomed Merkel's push to revive the embattled EU charter.

    She has said she would like to maintain as much as possible of the current draft treaty, which has been in the deep freeze since voters in France and the Netherlands rejected it in referendums in 2005. Merkel wants the EU to approve a revised version of the constitution draft by early 2009.

    Separately, EU Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said he hoped Germany's EU presidency would yield more than a calendar for reviving the constitution.

    "I hope that, in addition to the road map, a clearer
    delineation of what the goal is can be achieved. That is, a
    clearer definition of what each member state must achieve,"
    -----Barroso said in an interview with German television station n-tv.

    Critics say Christian reference would exclude many.

    The Vatican and other church organizations have expressed regret that the document does not include an explicit reference to Europe's Judeo-Christian origins. (!!! )

    But critics warned that such a reference would exclude European Muslims and potential member state Turkey, which is predominantly Muslim.
    A reference to the EU's Christian roots would sit uneasily with largely Muslim Turkey, an EU aspirant; Merkel's conservative Christian Union bloc favors a "privileged partnership" with Turkey as opposed to full EU membership.....

    But it has agreed to support the EU's ongoing accession negotiations with Ankara as part of her government's coalition agreement with the center-left Social Democrats.

    Last year Merkel was among the EU politicians campaigning for a more explicit reference to Europe's Christian roots.

    Plans to include such a reference were originally blocked by French President Jacques Chirac. Some German officials hope French conservative presidential candidate Nicolas Sarkozy, who has criticized France's official secularism as too rigid, may support their campaign.

    Sarkozy has also argued against allowing Turkey, a predominantly Muslim country, to join the EU.

    Although Merkel has said it is vital to acknowledge Europe's Christian heritage, she stresses that Europe is a diverse continent. Merkel said the EU was not a "Christian club" but was a "club of values."
    "We will never accept positions that say that the dignity of human beings can be violated or that men and women should have different opportunities to develop. Europe must be ready to stand by these values and fight for them."

    ---------------------------------------------------------------------

    Three Questions ?
    Do we need the EU? Does it need a Constitution ? And Are "we " really Christian ? Whose Europe is it anyway?

  4. #4

    Thumbs Down Merkel reviving stalled EU constitutional process

    German EU Constitution Plans Get Mixed Reception in Berlin

    European Union | 27.02.2007

    German plans to put forward new proposals on the stalled EU constitutional process drew support from Denmark but hesitancy from the Czech Republic Tuesday. Berlin will likely have to lower the bar.

    Although Chancellor Angela Merkel had hoped to use an upcoming summit in Berlin to be a springboard toward a new discussion on an EU constitution, differences among members mean that will likely not happen. German aspirations are being rolled back as member states remain on different pages regarding an EU charter.

    "Quality is more important than speed," Czech Deputy Prime Minister Alexandr Vondra said, following talks with German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier in Berlin.

    However, Danish Foreign Minister Per Stig Moller said after a separate meeting with Steinmeier that Denmark would back an initiative to be put forward by Germany before it passes the EU presidency to Portugal in July.

    "If all 27 members vote for it, we will be on board," Moller said, warning that the EU faced a difficult period if no solution to the impasse was found.

    Uniting or dividing?

    Vondra said a solution to the problem, which arose after the French and the Dutch rejected the proposed new constitution, had to be found. But the solution had to bind Europe together and not divide it, he added, pledging a constructive approach from the Czech Republic.

    Steinmeier expressed confidence a new initiative backed by all EU members would be put forward by the end of June.

    "We need this if Europe is to remain effective in the future," he said, pointing to the need for institutional reform for the enlarged EU to keep functioning.

    Although Germany had hoped to use its six-month EU presidency to get the treaty discussions back firmly on track, it appears that that goal will not be reached.

    Declaration dissention

    In a sign of the extent of the differences among EU countries, representatives cannot agree on the language to be used in a declaration being drafted for March summit celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Treaty of Rome, which established the European Economic Community, the forerunner of the EU.

    Diplomats are split on language describing the bloc's achievements, values and challenges in a document, which one envoy described to Reuters are likely to be "bland at best."

    Merkel's goal is to get EU leaders on board by June to work towards the ratification of a new version of the EU constitution by 2009's European Parliament elections.

    "She wanted a clause at the end of the Berlin Declaration saying 'this is why we need to sign up to a new constitution to set up the June summit,'" one diplomat told Reuters. "This is not going to happen."

    Instead, the document will likely try to set the mood for reviving talks rather than make firm commitments, since Merkel does not want to start in internal EU fight. Opinions within the bloc differ widely on issues such as Turkey's potential membership, further expansion and the extent of EU's social welfare system.

    The needs of an unwieldy bloc

    Proponents of the constitution say it is needed to ease decision-making in the 27-member bloc. It would give bigger nations more power through a reform of the voting system and appoint a foreign minister and an EU president who would serve for longer than the current six months.

    Eighteen of the 27 EU members have ratified the new constitution. The French and Dutch rejected it by significant majorities in referenda held in mid-2005, causing a crisis in the EU which can still be felt.

    The British government pledged to hold a referendum, but postponed it indefinitely after the rejection by France and the Netherlands. Poland, Portugal, Denmark, Sweden, the Czech Republic and Ireland have yet to ratify it.

    DW staff (jam)
    Source

  5. #5

    Merkel Wants Single European Army

    Angela Merkel, the Chancellor of the so-called federal republic "of Germany" wants to erode the sovereignty of European nation states further by abolishing their armies.

    German Chancellor Favors Creation of European Army

    European Union | 23.03.2007

    The European Union should move towards forming a common army, Germany’s Angela Merkel said in an interview focusing on the chancellor’s vision for the future of the bloc.

    Just ahead of weekend celebrations marking the 50th anniversary of the Treaty of Rome, the foundations of the European Union, Chancellor Merkel said she envisioned a single European army for the future of the 27-member bloc in the next decades.

    "We need to get closer to a common army for Europe," she told the mass-circulation Bild newspaper in an interview published Friday.

    The call for a European armed forces is not new. Last year, Polish President Lech Kaczynski said his country wanted a new 100,000-strong European army created to work with NATO in trouble spots in the world or to defend Europe.

    Speaking on the future goals of the EU, Merkel, whose country currently holds the six-month rotating presidency, said the bloc needs "an EU constitutional treaty which is suited to the decision-making mechanism of a larger EU."

    Berlin Declaration

    Merkel has made reviving the constitution one of the key points in Germany’s presidency. The ratification process, which was derailed after France and the Netherlands rejected it in national referendums in 2005, has been further slowed by grappling over issues relating to the bloc’s existing structure.

    Merkel hopes a weekend summit in Berlin will give new impetus to the process. She plans to unveil the Berlin Declaration, which sets out the values and achievements of the 27-nation bloc and outlines its goals for the future.

    Germany has vowed to present a road map for relaunching the constitution at a June EU summit in Brussels with a clear view to getting a new document ratified by mid-2009.

    Not a single state

    In the Bild interview, Merkel rejected the notion that Europe would merge into a single state. "There will not be a European federal state, we will maintain the diversity of the nation states," she said.

    "The European Commission will be more effective and have clearly defined responsibilities," she added.

    Merkel said the essence of Europe could be described in a single word: "tolerance."

    DW staff (ktz)
    Source

  6. #6

    Thumbs Down Angela Merkel bashes Belarus

    Police Arrest Opposition Protestors in Belarus

    Eastern Europe | 25.03.2007

    Belarus police have crushed the first legal demonstration in years by several thousand opponents of President Aleksander Lukashenko in Minsk, reports said Sunday.

    According to the witnesses, special security forces forcibly removed protestors from October Square in the centre of Minsk while the Interfax press agency reported that the city police chief Anatoly Kuleskov had said that arrests had been made.

    The demonstration had been given permission to go ahead. However, it had not been permitted to deviate from a route approved by the authorities.

    Hundreds of arrests were made at last year's protest march on what the opposition call Freedom Day, which is the anniversary of the 1918 declaration of the first Belarusian state.

    Supporters of the Belarusian opposition took to the streets on Monday to protest against the re-election one year ago of the authoritarian President Aleksander Lukashenko.

    Large numbers of police broke up the illegal demonstration in which only a few dozen people took part, according to Interfax.

    Following a controversial change in the constitution, Lukashenko was re-elected for a third term in office with a massive majority on March 19, 2006.

    Merkel draws appaluse for Belarus statements

    Meanwhile in Berlin, guests attending Sunday's signing of the EU's Berlin Declaration reserved some of their loudest applause for a reference Chancellor Angela Merkel made to Belarus.

    Speaking about growing up in East Germany and the fall of the Berlin Wall, Merkel told EU leaders that this was "a defining moment for me: I realized that nothing ever has to stay the way it is."

    "That is a source of immense hope for all those not ready to countenance the injustices of our world. It is a source of immense hope, too, by the way, for those in Europe who still endure oppression -- like the people of Belarus."

    "Today they are celebrating their independence day. Our thoughts are also with them today and our message to them is: human rights are indivisible! Europe is with you!"

    DW staff / AFP / dpa (nda)
    Source

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    Re: Angela Merkel bashes Belarus

    Well if her sentiments are genuine, I agree with her. I'm not a fan of Belarus' leadership.

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    Angela Merkel

    Merkel to support Iran sanctions?

    Deutsche Welle 7Nov07

    German Chancellor Angela Merkel gave the clearest signal yet that she would pledge German support to tougher sanctions on Iran during an award ceremony in Berlin on Tuesday, Nov. 6. Ahead of her visit to the United States on Friday where talks on further sanctions on Iran are likely to dominate proceedings, Merkel told a predominantly Jewish audience that she felt a moral duty to protect Israel and would stand firm in the face of Iran's nuclear ambitions and its threats to wipe the Jewish state off the map.

    After receiving the Leo Baeck Prize from Germany's Central Council of Jews for her efforts to improve relations between Jews and non-Jews and between Germany and Israel, Merkel told the audience in Berlin that she felt honor-bound to fight racism and to foster close ties between Germans and the Jewish community. Merkel said that receiving the prize highlighted the responsibility she and Germany had for protecting the Jewish state...

    "It means intervening to protect the safety of Israel today and in the future, as well as our common values of democracy and the rule of law," she said. "It took more than 40 years for Germany as a whole to accept the responsibility it carries to ensure the safety of Israel," she added. "Only by accepting Germany's past can we lay the foundation for the future. Only in as far as we acknowledge our responsibility for the moral catastrophe of Germany's history can we build a humane future."

    Germany should be judged on actions, says Merkel. The chancellor said that Germany should not merely pay lip service to these principles but will be judged on how firmly it reacts to breaches inside its borders but also beyond them. "How firmly do we react when the Iranian president wants to destroy Israel and to belittle the Holocaust?" she asked. "I believe that in the face of the threat Iran's nuclear program poses to Israel, our responsibility must be more than empty words. These words must be backed up by deeds. My government will follow its words with action."

    Merkel will hold talks with US President George W. Bush on how to resolve the Iranian crisis. Washington is canvassing its allies for support in its push to obtain harder sanctions on Tehran over fears that Iran's nuclear program is a cover for developing atomic weapons, an accusation Iran strenuously denies.


    Chancellor reiterates support for tougher Iran sanctions


    The chancellor reiterated her support for tougher UN sanctions against Iran if it fails to comply with the demands of the international community to halt sensitive nuclear work. "We and our partners are working towards a diplomatic solution," she said. "Part of this process is a readiness on the part of Germany to agree to wider, stricter sanctions if Iran does not comply.

    "I made this plain in my speech to the United Nations at the end of September and I repeat it in all my political consultations and I repeat it here today," added the chancellor.


    Germany throws weight behind Middle East peace process


    Merkel also addressed the current Middle East crisis and told the audience in Berlin that Germany would do all it could to bolster the peace process between Israel and the Palestinians. The so-called Middle East Quartet -- the United States, Russia, the European Union and United Nations -- will convene with Israeli and Palestinian officials in Annapolis in the US later this month to discuss the peace process at a meeting which Merkel called a "major opportunity."

    "The peace conference in Annapolis offers a major opportunity to bring movement back into the peace process," she said. "Everything the German government can do to support this process will be done. That is why President Bush and I will fully discuss the subject during my visit this weekend to Texas as well as the next step regarding Iran."

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    Merkel to support Iran sanctions?

    Merkel to support Iran sanctions?

    Deutsche Welle 7Nov07

    German Chancellor Angela Merkel gave the clearest signal yet that she would pledge German support to tougher sanctions on Iran during an award ceremony in Berlin on Tuesday, Nov. 6.

    Ahead of her visit to the United States on Friday where talks on further sanctions on Iran are likely to dominate proceedings, Merkel told a predominantly Jewish audience that she felt a moral duty to protect Israel and would stand firm in the face of Iran's nuclear ambitions and its threats to wipe the Jewish state off the map.

    After receiving the Leo Baeck Prize from Germany's Central Council of Jews for her efforts to improve relations between Jews and non-Jews and between Germany and Israel, Merkel told the audience in Berlin that she felt honor-bound to fight racism and to foster close ties between Germans and the Jewish community.

    Merkel said that receiving the prize highlighted the responsibility she and Germany had for protecting the Jewish state.....

    "It means intervening to protect the safety of Israel today and in the future, as well as our common values of democracy and the rule of law," she said.

    "It took more than 40 years for Germany as a whole to accept the responsibility it carries to ensure the safety of Israel," she added. "Only by accepting Germany's past can we lay the foundation for the future. Only in as far as we acknowledge our responsibility for the moral catastrophe of Germany's history can we build a humane future."

    Germany should be judged on actions, says Merkel


    The chancellor said that Germany should not merely pay lip service to these principles but will be judged on how firmly it reacts to breaches inside its borders but also beyond them.

    "How firmly do we react when the Iranian president wants to destroy Israel and to belittle the Holocaust?" she asked. "I believe that in the face of the threat Iran's nuclear program poses to Israel, our responsibility must be more than empty words. These words must be backed up by deeds. My government will follow its words with action."

    Merkel will hold talks with US President George W. Bush on how to resolve the Iranian crisis. Washington is canvassing its allies for support in its push to obtain harder sanctions on Tehran over fears that Iran's nuclear program is a cover for developing atomic weapons, an accusation Iran strenuously denies.

    Chancellor reiterates support for tougher Iran sanctions

    The chancellor reiterated her support for tougher UN sanctions against Iran if it fails to comply with the demands of the international community to halt sensitive nuclear work.


    "We and our partners are working towards a diplomatic solution," she said. "Part of this process is a readiness on the part of Germany to agree to wider, stricter sanctions if Iran does not comply.

    "I made this plain in my speech to the United Nations at the end of September and I repeat it in all my political consultations and I repeat it here today," added the chancellor.

    Germany throws weight behind Middle East peace process

    Merkel also addressed the current Middle East crisis and told the audience in Berlin that Germany would do all it could to bolster the peace process between Israel and the Palestinians.


    The so-called Middle East Quartet -- the United States, Russia, the European Union and United Nations -- will convene with Israeli and Palestinian officials in Annapolis in the US later this month to discuss the peace process at a meeting which Merkel called a "major opportunity."

    "The peace conference in Annapolis offers a major opportunity to bring movement back into the peace process," she said. "Everything the German government can do to support this process will be done. That is why President Bush and I will fully discuss the subject during my visit this weekend to Texas as well as the next step regarding Iran."

    DW staff (nda)

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    ... and now I see Merkel's friend Sarkozy being given a great reception in America. It really does look as though everything is being sewn up nicely.......

    Who would have thought that a French president could have so easily and quickly replaced Mr Blair! Where will it all lead ........

    http://forums.skadi.net/showthread.php?t=2683&nojs=1

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