Schröder settles old scores with Merkel and 'God-fearing' Bush

Germany's former chancellor, Gerhard Schröder, has made a scathing attack on his conservative successor, Angela Merkel, accusing her of "lack of leadership" and belittling her foreign policy initiatives, in his first major interview since losing power last year.

The former Social Democrat leader's remarks, which provoked protest from conservative MPs, were made in an interview with Der Spiegel magazine to coincide with publication of his memoirs this week.

Asked about the growing unpopularity of Ms Merkel's grand coalition government, which has caused support for the conservatives to drop to a six-year low, 62-year-old Mr Schröder said: "There is simply a lack of leadership. That has created an incredible disillusionment through the conservative party." The former chancellor, who now holds a controversial senior post on the board of the Russian state energy giant, Gazprom, said the reform policies of Ms Merkel's government were "no big throw of the dice", adding that her attempts to streamline the country's complicated health care system had resulted in a "bureaucratic monstrosity".

Ms Merkel's success in improving the troubled German relationship with the US she inherited from her predecessor was dismissed by Mr Schröder with a sarcastic: "Now there you are!". Asked about Ms Merkel's change in German foreign policy by raising the issue of human rights on a visit to China, Mr Schröder said: "Yeah! I bet that hugely impressed the Chinese."

Mr Schröder said Ms Merkel had been taken in by the "bragging" of her own ministers who claimed they were "masters of their trade". Claiming Ms Merkel's Social Democrat grand coalition partners were the true leaders of her government, he added: "Now they see the opposite is true."

The former chancellor was unrepentant about joining Gazprom. "It is claimed that the pipeline is against German interests, but the opposite is true," he said. "I had expected to receive much praise for this, but perhaps that was exaggerated."

Ms Merkel's conservative ministers responded with vitriol. Michael Glos, the Economics Minister, said the German electorate was fed up with "the big mouth with which Schröder promoted himself" during office. "He is Mr Amateur," he said in a reference to Mr Schröder's economic policies.

Volker Kauder, the conservative parliamentary leader, said: "The fact that Schröder finds it necessary to attack his successor and with that, his own party friends, shows he has not got over his defeat." In excerpts from Mr Schröder's memoirs published yesterday, the former chancellor blamed the left wing of his Social Democratic Party and Germany's powerful trade union movement for engineering his defeat in last year's general election.

"They wanted to topple the reform programme and me as chancellor because I was connected with it," he said. Mr Schröder also provided a revealing insight into his impressions of President George Bush, with whom he clashed after his government vociferously opposed the US invasion of Iraq in 2002: "During our private meetings, I was repeatedly reminded of how "God-fearing" this President was and how much he considered himself to be in tune with this highest authority," Mr Schröder wrote.

"The problem I have with such a stance begins when the impression increases that political decisions are being made as a result of a conversation with God. Somebody who justifies his political choices in this way cannot accept that they may be altered or even toned down through criticism or discussion."

PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Voices
voicesGood for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, writes Grace Dent
Sport
Shinji Kagawa and Reece James celebrate after the latter scores in Manchester United's 7-0 victory over LA Galaxy
football
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
Snoop Dogg pictured at The Hollywood Reporter Nominees' Night in February, 2013
people... says Snoop Dogg
News
The University of California study monitored the reaction of 36 dogs
sciencePets' range of emotions revealed
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?
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

Helpdesk Team Leader / Manager

£45000 per annum + pension,medical: Ashdown Group: A successful & reputable gl...

General Cover Teacher

£100 - £105 per day: Randstad Education Cardiff: Secondary Teachers of all sub...

IT Systems Manager

£40000 - £45000 per annum + pension, healthcare,25 days: Ashdown Group: An est...

General Cover Teacher

£100 - £105 per day: Randstad Education Cardiff: Secondary Teachers of all sub...

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