Support for Merkel’s conservatives falls

Support for Merkel’s conservatives falls
Angela Merkel
Updated 12 November 2017

Support for Merkel’s conservatives falls

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.


Greece, France to sign $2.8 billion fighter jet deal amid Turkey tensions

Greece, France to sign $2.8 billion fighter jet deal amid Turkey tensions
Updated 25 January 2021

Greece, France to sign $2.8 billion fighter jet deal amid Turkey tensions

Greece, France to sign $2.8 billion fighter jet deal amid Turkey tensions
  • Florence Parly, the French defense minister, signed the agreement in Athens to deliver 12 used and six new aircraft
  • France has sided with Greece in a dispute with Turkey over boundaries in the Aegean Sea and eastern Mediterranean

ATHENS, Greece: Greece signed a 2.3 billion-euro ($2.8 billion) deal with France on Monday to purchase 18 Rafale fighter jets, as tensions remain high with neighbor Turkey.
Florence Parly, the French defense minister, signed the agreement in Athens to deliver 12 used and six new aircraft built by Dassault Aviation over two years, starting in July.
France has sided with Greece in a dispute over boundaries in the Aegean Sea and eastern Mediterranean that has brought NATO members Greece and Turkey to the brink of war several times in recent decades.
Tension spiked again last summer when a Turkish exploration mission in disputed waters triggered a dangerous military build-up.
Greece and Turkey have agreed to restart talks aimed at resolving the dispute peacefully. Senior diplomats from the two countries met in Istanbul Monday to resume the process that had been interrupted for nearly five years.
But Athens says it will continue a multibillion-euro program to upgrade its military following years of cuts due to the country’s financial crisis.
France and the United States are in competition to provide the Greek navy with new frigates, while Greece’s government recently approved plans to cooperate with Israeli defense electronics firm Elbit Systems to create a new military flight academy in southern Greece.
“The upgrade in the capabilities of the Hellenic Air Force by means of both the acquisition of new fighter aircraft and the new state-of-the-art training center is critical for Greece to present a credible deterrence,” Michael Tanchum, a senior fellow at the Austrian Institute for European and Security Policy, told The Associated Press.
“It also provides Athens an enhanced ability to exercise more strategic autonomy when EU and NATO frameworks are deemed inadequate, making Greece more of a player in its own right.”
Starting in May, mandatory national service in the Greek Armed Forces will be increased from nine to 12 months to boost the number of people serving in uniform. While in Athens, Parly will also holding talks with Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis.