Wednesday

24th Jan 2018

Greens accuse Merkel of weakening EU institutions

  • The German Greens are popular, but their Social-Democratic allies are trailing far behind Angela Merkel (Photo: Valentina Pop)

One month before general elections in Germany, political parties are intensifying their attacks on incumbent Chancellor Angela Merkel, who still enjoys a comfortable lead in opinion polls.

Speaking to foreign correspondents in Berlin on Monday (19 August), Green lead candidate Juergen Trittin said his party is "the most pro-European party in Germany."

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"There is a clear demarcation line between what the Greens want and what the Chancellor does. She always tried to create new intergovernmental institutions, an intergovernmental Europe is her core belief. We think EU institutions have to be boosted, we are for more powers to the European Commission and European Parliament," Trittin said.

If there was one lesson from the euro-crisis, says the Green politician, it is that national authorities are not to be trusted in dealing with failing banks.

"It should be the European Commission, not national governments, in charge of what banks are wound down. Because the French won't do it for Paribas and neither will the Germans for Deutsche Bank," Trittin said, in reference to France and Germany's largest commercial banks.

He also spoke in favour of harmonising corporate taxes across the EU, so that corporations like Starbucks or Apple are forced to pay their share when setting up subsidiaries in Europe.

"We need a harmonisation of the corporate tax base to avoid tax dumping. This doesn't mean that every country should have the same tax rate, there can be some differentiation, but within certain margins," the Green politician said.

Trittin is being tipped as a potential finance minister in case a coalition with the Social-Democrats manages to score more than Angela Merkel's Christian Democrats and Liberals.

But the most likely outcome is a tie between the two camps and a grand coalition between Merkel's Christian-Democrats and the Social-Democrats.

Another potential scenario is for Merkel to forge an alliance with the Greens, since her party has now adopted a long-standing demand of the environmentalists: shutting down the nuclear plants by 2022.

Both Merkel and Trittin so far have dismissed this scenario, but once the election night is over, all options will be on the table.

According to a poll carried out earlier this month by Forsa, a German pollster, half of the Green electorate said they want Merkel to carry on as chancellor, rather than the Social-Democratic candidate, Peer Steinbrueck. And 45 percent said they could envisage a coalition between the Greens and Merkel's party.

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