No protective clothing needed as Merkel reaps rewards of Euro triumph

Tony Paterson joins the German Chancellor on the campaign trail

The crowd of locals and holiday makers in the east German lakeside town of Waren burst into applause as the woman introduced as the “most successful woman politician in Europe” walked onto the stage today.

But as she began the third rally on her 60-stop campaign tour to win a third term in Germany’s September general election, conservative Chancellor Angela Merkel wasn’t that keen on mentioning Europe at all.

She referred to the Euro crisis only with throwaway lines such as: “We need a strong Europe.” In the direction of countries like Greece and Spain she added: “Every country needs to do its homework.”

Her comments were greeted with clapping. It seemed just as important at Angela Merkel’s east German rally that she inform the crowd that she likes going swimming, used to drive a paddle boat and that as a youngster growing up in the region, was once employed to dig ditches.

The election, she told the crowd, is all about: “Deciding how things should continue for you personally in your life.” She pointed out that her government had cut unemployment from five to three million and insisted that under her tenure, Germany was doing quite well. Supporters walked about in black T –shirts bearing the slogan “Keep cool and vote for the Chancellor.” Bernd Stillmann, a 45-year-old teacher from Hamburg was on holiday. He told The Independent: “Merkel doesn’t have to dwell too much on Europe because she has fixed its problems. I admire her for that,” he added.

Many of Germany’s 80 million-plus inhabitants agree. With little more than a month to go before general election on 22 September, opinion polls suggest that Ms Merkel’s campaign tactic of virtually ignoring Europe’s problems is likely to be a winner. Her stance was even boosted this week with figures which suggested that with a 0.7 per cent growth rate in the second quarter, Germany had succeeded in leading Europe out of recession.

A survey conducted by the respected Forsa institute earlier this week suggested that her ruling coalition of Christian Democrats and liberal Free Democrats was on course to capture 40 per cent of the vote.

By contrast the opposition Social Democrats and environmentalist Greens, who are fighting to oust the Chancellor with a so-called Red-Green coalition, are expected to poll a combined 36 per cent.

Yet her decision to portray Europe as a problem which she has successfully resolved has prompted a series of scathing attacks from prominent German critics who argue that Ms Merkel is disingenuous of not downright dishonest. The philosopher, Peter Sloterdijk has accused her of creating a “lethargocracy” in Germany by ducking the European issue and avoiding controversy at almost all costs.

Germany’s federal bank, the Bundesbank, painted a different picture earlier this week. It argued that far from being secure, German voters would, by early 2014, be saddled with a new Greek bailout problem.

The bank said it had “ grave doubts” about Athens’ ability to implement its current reform programme, the conditions of which were decided largely by Germany.

In an essay published this week entitled “Germany dozes on a Volcano”, the leading German social commentator Jürgen Habermas was scathing about Ms Merkel and accused her of inflicting “horrendous” unemployment on southern Europe with an austerity programme designed to please a domestic audience.

“We know Angela Merkel’s response: soporific bumbling. Her public persona seems to lack any normative core,” he wrote. “Since the Greek crisis erupted in may 2010, she has subordinated each of her considered steps to the opportunism of staying in power,” he concluded.

Voices
voicesGood for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, writes Grace Dent
Sport
The Pipes and Drums of The Scottish Regiments perform during the Opening Ceremony for the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games at Celtic Park on July 23, 2014 in Glasgow, Scotland.
Commonwealth GamesThe actor encouraged the one billion viewers of the event to donate to the children's charity
Sport
Karen Dunbar performs
Entertainers showcase local wit, talent and irrepressible spirit
Sport
Members of the Scotland deleagtion walk past during the opening ceremony of the 2014 Commonwealth Games at Celtic Park in Glasgow on July 23, 2014.
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Arts and Entertainment
The Tour de France peloton rides over a bridge on the Grinton Moor, Yorkshire, earlier this month
film
Life and Style
fashion Designs are part of feminist art project by a British student
News
Very tasty: Vladimir Putin dining alone, perhaps sensibly
news
Life and Style
Listen here: Apple EarPods offer an alternative
techAre custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?
Arts and Entertainment
Top guns: Cole advised the makers of Second World War film Fury, starring Brad Pitt
filmLt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a uniform
News
The University of California study monitored the reaction of 36 dogs
sciencePets' range of emotions revealed
News
Snoop Dogg pictured at The Hollywood Reporter Nominees' Night in February, 2013
people... says Snoop Dogg
Arts and Entertainment
A scene from Shakespeare in Love at the Noel Coward Theatre
theatreReview: Shakespeare in Love has moments of sheer stage poetry mixed with effervescent fun
News
Joining forces: young British men feature in an Isis video in which they urge Islamists in the West to join them in Iraq and Syria
newsWill the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?
Arts and Entertainment
The nomination of 'The Wake' by Paul Kingsnorth has caused a stir
books
News
i100
Life and Style
food + drinkZebra meat is exotic and lean - but does it taste good?
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

BI Manager - £50,000

£49000 - £55000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: My client is...

BI Project Manager - £48,000 - £54,000 - Midlands

£48000 - £54000 per annum + Benefits package: Progressive Recruitment: My clie...

VB.Net Developer

£35000 - £45000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: If you're pa...

SAP Business Consultant (SD, MM and FICO), £55,000, Wakefield

£45000 - £55000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: SAP Business...

Day In a Page

Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform
Climate change threatens to make the antarctic fur seal extinct

Take a good look while you can

How climate change could wipe out this seal
Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier for the terminally ill?

Farewell, my lovely

Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier?
Man Booker Prize 2014 longlist: Crowdfunded novel nominated for first time

Crowdfunded novel nominated for Booker Prize

Paul Kingsnorth's 'The Wake' is in contention for the prestigious award
Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster to ensure his meals aren't poisoned

Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster

John Walsh salutes those brave souls who have, throughout history, put their knives on the line
Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

A $25m thriller starring Sam Worthington to be made in God's Own Country
Will The Minerva Project - the first 'elite' American university to be launched in a century - change the face of higher learning?

Will The Minerva Project change the face of higher learning?

The university has no lecture halls, no debating societies, no sports teams and no fraternities. Instead, the 33 students who have made the cut at Minerva, will travel the world and change the face of higher learning
The 10 best pedicure products

Feet treat: 10 best pedicure products

Bags packed and all prepped for holidays, but feet in a state? Get them flip-flop-ready with our pick of the items for a DIY treatment
Commonwealth Games 2014: Great Scots! Planes and pipers welcome in Glasgow's Games

Commonwealth Games 2014

Great Scots! Planes and pipers welcome in Glasgow's Games
Jack Pitt-Brooke: Manchester City and Patrick Vieira make the right stand on racism

Jack Pitt-Brooke

Manchester City and Patrick Vieira make the right stand on racism
How Terry Newton tragedy made iron men seek help to tackle their psychological demons

How Newton tragedy made iron men seek help to tackle their psychological demons

Over a hundred rugby league players have contacted clinic to deal with mental challenges of game