Merkel upsets Germany with economy boast
€3m ad campaign infuriates taxpayers
Friday 19 November 2010
Chancellor Angela Merkel faced a barrage of criticism from taxpayers and opposition parties yesterday after her government launched an extraordinary €3m advertising campaign boasting that Germany was the country that had "best overcome the global economic crisis".
In what appeared to be an effort to boost her conservative-led coalition's collapsing popularity and calm fears about an impending Irish bailout, the government placed advertisements online and in newspapers in a week-long drive to promote itself. The taxpayer-funded ads feature a photograph of a smiling Ms Merkel. "Thank you dear citizens," the Chancellor writes, "You have made Germany the country that has best overcome the global economic crisis."
Referring to an unexpectedly high, export-driven 3.4 per cent growth rate, she says: "The world looks at our country and is talking of a miracle. I do not believe in miracles, but I do believe in the people of this country – in their ideas and in their good sense".
The campaign, which was launched a day after a self-congratulatory conference of Ms Merkel's conservative Christian Democratic Party, was criticised by Germany's Federation of Taxpayers as an outrageous waste of money. "I cannot believe the cheek of it," said Karl-Heinz Däke, the group's spokesman.
Politicians from all opposition parties were also quick to criticise the advertisements as an attempt to bolster the image of Ms Merkel's Christian Democrats with government money. Volker Beck, the Green Party parliamentary leader was one of many who questioned whether the campaign was legal. "Government advertisement funding is not meant to be used to enhance the image of the Christian Democrats," he said. "This is a waste of taxpayers' money – the €3m should be paid by the Christian Democrats," he added.
But Steffen Seibert, a government spokesman, defended the campaign, insisting "the government has a duty to inform people about what it is doing".
Ms Merkel's coalition has not recovered from the popularity nosedive it took earlier this year when it was seen to have bungled the first round of the euro crisis. Opinion polls have suggested that, if a general election were held tomorrow, her government would almost certainly be beaten by opposition Social Democrats and Greens.
The Chancellor has been struggling to convince a sceptical electorate worried about what effect an Irish bailout will have on their purses. The media have spent the past week portraying Ireland as an economic disaster area.
At the Christian Democrat conference earlier this week, Ms Merkel adopted the visionary approach to the euro once used by the former chancellor Helmut Kohl. She told delegates saving the currency was part of the battle to preserve "peace in Europe."
- 1 Replica Back to the Future Hoverboard released
- 2 Katie Hopkins attacked me on Twitter — so I reported her to the police for inciting racial hatred
- 3 Brixton squat flats now costing up to £3k per month show how out of control rent is in London
- 4 A new (old) cure for MRSA? Revolting recipe from the Dark Ages may be key to defeat infection
- 5 Gamers confess the worst things they've done in The Sims
Costa Concordia: Shipment of Mob drugs was hidden aboard cruise liner when it hit rocks off Italian coast, investigators say
Brixton squat flats now costing up to £3k per month show how out of control rent is in London
A new (old) cure for MRSA? Revolting recipe from the Dark Ages may be key to defeat infection
Jeremy Clarkson 'could be given minder' ahead of a potential Top Gear return
Germanwings crash: 'Andreas Lubitz planned to marry pregnant girlfriend', claims German report
Ukip supporters are 55 or older, white and socially conservative, finds British Social Attitudes Report
Street preacher quoting from the Bible fined for calling homosexuality an 'abomination'
Jeremy Clarkson sacked live: Alan Yentob 'wouldn't rule out' ex Top Gear host's BBC return
Woman filmed launching racist tirade against men on the Tube for speaking in 'own lingo'
The West has it totally wrong on Lee Kuan Yew
David Cameron calls Labour 'hopeless, sneering socialists' while announcing 7-day NHS plans
£25000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing digital agenc...
£50000 - £100000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a newly-created partne...
£35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior FF&E Project Co-ordinator is re...
£10 per hour: Recruitment Genius: A delightful, 11 year old boy who lives in t...