Kohl sets out to build job coalition over jobs crisis
Tuesday 25 February 1997
Chancellor Helmut Kohl and the Social Democrat (SPD) chairman, Oskar Lafontaine, have both denied their rare "summit", meant as the first of several hastily-arranged sessions, would lead to a cabinet reshuffle to include the SPD.
But it aims at least for an all-party effort to fight the unemployment record of 4.7 million, which threatens to prevent Germany from qualifying for the European single currency. "Pull us out of the crisis!" Bild, Germany's largest daily, appealed in a headline.
The issues on the table are clear. Since the SPD majority in the upper house of parliament can block any new tax law, Mr Kohl needs its support to cut taxes by DM30bn (pounds 11.3bn) and lower unit labour costs, thus promoting more jobs.
Public alarm over rising unemployment is now so fierce that the SPD cannot afford to stonewall; voters in next year's elections would punish them for delaying a solution. But the main opposition party cannot compromise so much that it ends up helping Mr Kohl build a re-election campaign on the claim that he pulled back Germany from the brink.
The best-case scenario calls for agreement on laws this year to start cutting taxes in 1998. In the worst case, there will be no consensus and both parties will revert to confrontation to pin the blame for the failure on the other.
Recent polls show Mr Kohl's centre-right coalition trailing an opposition alliance of the SPD and Greens. The Chancellor does worse than either possible SPD challenger, Mr Lafontaine, or Lower Saxony's state premier, Gerhard Schroder.
- 1 Avengers: Age of Ultron: Nearly 700 German cinemas refuse to show movie
- 2 Donald Trump decides that Baltimore riots are Barack Obama's fault
- 3 X Factor in crisis as numbers of people auditioning plummets
- 4 General Election 2015: Stephen Hawking says he will vote Labour
- 5 Baltimore riots: Furious mother marches her son home live on TV
Bali Nine executions live: Indonesian firing squad shoots dead eight drug offenders despite outcry around world, but a ninth is spared
Keith Harris dead: Orville the Duck ventriloquist dies aged 67 following battle with cancer
The four utterly contradictory polls that tell the story of this election and why it is pointless trying to predict the outcome
Donald Trump decides that Baltimore riots are Barack Obama's fault
General Election 2015: Prospect of Labour-SNP coalition makes one in four voters less likely to support Ed Miliband, says survey
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
The sickening truth about food banks that the Tories don't want you to know
Aaron and Melissa Klein: Oregon anti-gay bakers ordered to pay $135,000 after refusing to make cake for same-sex wedding
EU exit would hit UK economy much harder than neighbouring countries, study finds
Andrew Lloyd Webber: Phantom of the Opera writer mocked after issuing a warning about Ed Miliband and Nicola Sturgeon
General election 2015: Labour will toughen hate crimes legislation surrounding Islamophobia
£23000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This firm of accountants based ...
£30000 - £38000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They are a financial services c...
£30000 - £32000 per annum + car allowance and on call: Ashdown Group: A succes...
£15000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Well established small company ...