Support for Merkel’s conservatives falls

Angela Merkel
Updated 12 November 2017

Support for Merkel’s conservatives falls

BERLIN: Support for Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives has fallen to the lowest level in more than six years, according to a poll on Sunday, as they prepare for more talks on a coalition deal with the environmentalist Greens and a pro-business party.
The weekly Emnid survey for Bild am Sonntag newspaper showed only 30 percent would vote for Merkel’s CDU/CSU bloc if there were a federal election, down 1 percentage point.
This is the lowest reading for the conservatives in this survey since October 2011 and marks a slump in support since the Sept. 24 election, in which Merkel’s bloc won 32.9 percent.
Merkel’s conservatives, who bled support to the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) in the election, are trying to forge a three-way coalition government with Greens and the pro-market Free Democrats (FDP) — an alliance untested at the national level.
While politicians from the CDU/CSU and the FDP have cited progress after three weeks of exploratory talks, senior Greens voiced frustration and stepped up the pressure on Merkel.
“We see no goodwill at all on Europe, foreign and domestic policy, on affordable housing and good working conditions, on transport and agriculture transition,” Greens co-leader Cem Ozdemir told Bild am Sonntag.
Touching on one of the thorniest issues, Merkel said on Saturday that Germany should lead the fight against climate change and cut emissions without destroying industrial jobs.
Merkel’s comments, made in her weekly podcast in the middle of talks on limiting global warming attended by about 200 nations in the western German city of Bonn, highlighted the dilemma facing the center-right leader in the negotiations.
While the CDU/CSU and the FDP want to spare companies from additional burdens, the Greens want to spell out which measures the next government will implement for Germany to reach its 2020 goal of lowering emissions by 40 percent from 1990 levels.
Due to strong economic growth and higher-than-expected immigration, Germany is at risk of missing its emissions target without any additional measures.
Merkel wants to have an agreement in principle by Nov. 16 on moving ahead to formal coalition negotiations to form a black-yellow-green government — also dubbed a “Jamaica coalition” because the parties’ colors match those of that country’s flag.
With less than a week to go, the exploratory coalition talks are not only complicated by the differences between the parties, but also by splits within the political parties themselves — especially within the conservatives and Greens.
A breakdown of the talks could mean fresh elections in Germany, Europe’s biggest economy, since the Social Democrats (SPD) — the second-biggest party — have made clear they have no appetite for joining another “grand coalition” under Merkel.


Danish PM in tears after visiting mink farmer whose animals were culled

Updated 26 November 2020

Danish PM in tears after visiting mink farmer whose animals were culled

COPENHAGEN: Denmark’s Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen broke down on Thursday when visiting a mink farmer who lost his herd following the government’s order this month to cull all 17 million mink in the country to curb the spread of coronavirus.
Frederiksen has faced opposition calls to resign and a vote of no confidence in parliament after an order by the government in early November, which it later admitted was illegal, to cull the country’s entire mink population.
The order was given after authorities found COVID-19 outbreaks at hundreds of mink farms, including a new strain of the virus, suspected of being able to compromise the efficacy of vaccines.
“We have two generations of really skilled mink farmers, father and son, who in a very, very short time have had their life’s work shattered,” Frederiksen told reporters after a meeting with a mink farmer and his son at their farm near Kolding in Western Denmark.
“It has been emotional for them, and... Sorry. It has for me too,” Frederiksen said with a wavering voice, pausing for breath in between words.
The move to cull Denmark’s entire mink population, one of the world’s biggest and highly valued for the quality of its fur, has left the government reeling after it admitted it did not have the legal basis to order the culling of healthy mink.
After a tumultuous couple of weeks since the order was given on Nov. 4, the Minister of Agriculture, Mogens Jensen, stepped down last week after an internal investigation revealed a flawed political process.
Denmark has proposed a ban on all mink breeding in the country until 2022. Tage Pedersen, head of the Danish mink breeders’ association, said this month the industry, which employs around 6,000 people and exports fur pelts worth $800 million annually, is finished.
Denmark’s opposition says the cull of healthy mink should not have been initiated before compensation plans were in place for the owners and workers at some 1,100 mink farms.