US meeting with German opposition heralds 'new start'

Wolfgang Schäuble, the senior foreign policy expert in Angela Merkel's conservative Christian Democratic Party (CDU), held talks with Mr Bush for 45 minutes yesterday in an unscheduled meeting.

"I am pleased to have been received by such high-ranking people," Mr Schäuble said. "This shows that the US government is interested in good relations with Germany."

In a swipe at Chancellor Schröder's government, Mr Schäuble said that a future conservative German government would not view European integration and good relations with the US as a contradiction. "It is not a question of building a counterweight to America," he said. "German foreign policy has to find its way back to a traditional balance between good relations with the US and France."

The red-carpet treatment afforded to Mr Schäuble, which included talks with Condoleezza Rice, the Secretary of State, and Stephen Hadley, the US national security adviser, was the clearest indication to date of US expectations regarding outcome of Germany's general election.

After three years of icy diplomacy following Chancellor Gerhard Schröders' rejection of the US invasion of Iraq, the White House is hoping that US-German relations can be put back on a more stable footing.

Mr Schäuble was dispatched to Washington this week on a scouting mission by Germany's opposition. The CDU has outlined its policy towards the US in an election manifesto which insists that under a conservative administration, Germany will embark on a "new start" in relations with the White House.

However, the strength of German public opposition to the US's continued presence in Iraq prevented Mrs Merkel from going to Washington herself. Several German commentators have said television footage of Mrs Merkel and President Bush smiling and shaking hands would inevitably result in Mrs Merkel being dubbed "Bush's poodle" in the German media.

Mr Schäubel was at pains to insist that, despite the prospect of better relations, no German troops would be dispatched to Iraq under the CDU.

Despite its willingness to please Washington, Mrs Merkel's party has differences with the White House over Turkey's proposed membership of the European Union. The Bush administration is keen to see Turkey becomea fully fledged member. However, the CDU is adamant that Ankara be given only "privileged partnership" status. Her party has made opposition to Turkey's membership one of the main issues in its election manifesto.

German commentators have also rejected suggestions that a Merkel-led government would alter Germany's stance towards its main European ally, France, in favour of an improved relationship with the US.

"One has to remember that Mrs Merkel's conservatives regard themselves as the architects of the Franco-German alliance. There is no question of the party giving this up," a spokeswoman for Germany's Konrad Adenauer conservative think-tank told The Independent.

White House officials were reluctant yesterday to concede that Mr Bush's meeting with Mr Schäuble heralded the start of a new German-US alliance.

A spokesman said: "We are moving forward since our difficulties of the past and will continue to do so regardless of who wins the German elections."

peopleFrankie Boyle responds to referendum result in characteristically offensive style
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
New Articles
i100... with this review
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Holly's review of Peterborough's Pizza Express quickly went viral on social media
footballTim Sherwood: This might be th match to wake up Manchester City
Arts and Entertainment
musicHow female vocalists are now writing their own hits
New Articles
Arts and Entertainment
musicBiographer Hunter Davies has collected nearly a hundred original manuscripts
Blahnik says: 'I think I understand the English more than they do themselves'
Arts and Entertainment
Michelle Dockery as Lady Mary Crawley in Downton Abbey
TVInside Downton Abbey series 5
Life and Style
The term 'normcore' was given the oxygen of publicity by New York magazine during the autumn/winter shows in Paris in February
fashionWhen is a trend a non-trend? When it's Normcore, since you ask
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Marketing Manager - Leicestershire - £35,000

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager (CIM, B2B, MS Offi...

Marketing Executive (B2B and B2C) - Rugby, Warwickshire

£22000 - £25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A highly successful organisation wit...

SEN Coordinator + Teacher (SENCO)

£1 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Job Purpose To work closely with the he...

Research Manager - Quantitative/Qualitative

£32000 - £42000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client is curr...

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam