CDU outlines plans for new political programme

8th May 2007, Comments 0 comments

8 May 2007, Berlin (dpa) - Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democratic Union (CDU) Tuesday outlined plans for a new party programme that includes the controversial issue of a guiding culture in Germany. CDU Secretary General Ronald Pofalla said the goal of the party was to ensure that citizens could live "free and secure in a society of equal opportunities." To achieve this, "it is necessary that there is an acceptance in Germany of a Leitkultur," or guiding culture, he said in presenting a draft of th

8 May 2007

Berlin (dpa) - Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democratic Union (CDU) Tuesday outlined plans for a new party programme that includes the controversial issue of a guiding culture in Germany.

CDU Secretary General Ronald Pofalla said the goal of the party was to ensure that citizens could live "free and secure in a society of equal opportunities."

To achieve this, "it is necessary that there is an acceptance in Germany of a Leitkultur," or guiding culture, he said in presenting a draft of the new programme which will be discussed by the party before being put to a vote at its annual congress in December.

The term Leitkultur is a controversial concept which has figured prominently in the political debate in Germany about national identity and immigration.

Critics say it is associated with a monocultural vision of German society, with ideas of Western cultural superiority, and with policies of compulsory cultural assimilation.

But Pofalla said the concept of Leitkultur, which can also be translated as leading or core culture, encompasses values stemming from the German constitution, a responsibility arising from history, patriotism and competence in the German language.

Germany was a nation of integration, he said, and its main goal was a society based on equal opportunities.

Opposition Free Democrat Party (FPD) spokesman Dirk Nebel said the draft represented an inept attempt to revive "conservative rallying cries" of Leitkultur.

The draft, which was drawn up by a panel of experts who sifted through proposals advanced by 70,000 CDU members and ordinary citizens, also calls for greater steps to protect the environment.

It also calls for a limited-term, continued use of atomic energy - a proposal which is likely to meet with opposition from Merkel's ruling coalition partner, the Social Democrats.

The two parties agreed to phase out nuclear power by 2020, but some members of CDU have called for delaying the shutdown in order to meet targets to curb greenhouse gas emissions.

The draft also refers to the chances presented by globalization and calls for changes in the social dimension of Germany's market economy in order to meet the challenges of the future.

DPA

Subject: German news

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