28th Sep 2020

Kohl blames euro for election defeat

According to the Electronic Telegraph former German chancellor Helmut Kohl has blamed his 1998 general election defeat on the unpopularity of the euro, admitting that he steamrolled the single currency through against the people's wishes.

The admission that most Germans were against the euro was made in Mr Kohl's memoirs - Helmut Kohl, My Diary 1998-200 - which began on Sunday in Die Welt am Sonntag and which will run as a series in the paper.

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According to the Electronic Telegraph Mr Kohl, who was defeated at the ballot box by Gerhard Schröder's Social Democrats after 16 years as chancellor, said internal economic reforms on tax and pensions were already making his government unpopular in election year.

- The mistrust of wide circles of the people against the reform plans was even more serious because I demanded something from the people at the same time that must have caused great worry in Germany: the renunciation of the mark and transmission to the euro, Mr Kohl said according to the Electronic Telegraph. He added:

- I knew right from the start that this project was to be carried through against severe fears and resistance. At no time during the discussion of Maastricht and the future of Europe was a common European currency a popular project. For the people the economic success of Germany after the war is symbolised by the mark to a great extent.

Mr Kohl maintained that few Germans understood that the introduction of the euro was the most important condition of unity and therefor peace in Europe. To Germans, the mark symbolised their post-war recovery and success. Mr Kohl said:

- In the eyes of the people it stands for prosperity, economic success and security. Therefore the decision for the euro was seen by wide sections of the population as an unreasonable demand.

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