Merkel’s challenger promises full employment

3rd August 2009, Comments 1 comment

Steinmeier envisages another million new jobs in health and geriatric care as Germany's population ages, with the remaining million jobs in creative industries such as media, as well as services and trade.

Berlin -- The beleaguered challenger to German Chancellor Angela Merkel has pledged to eliminate unemployment by 2020 in a new bid to salvage his floundering campaign, a report said Sunday.

With less than two months to go before the September 27 general election, Vice-Chancellor and Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier of the centre-left Social Democrats is to present Monday a "Plan for Germany" outlining his platform.

"We will show how Germany, with smart policies, can create a total of four million new jobs in the next decade," according to excerpts from Steinmeier's manifesto published by newsweekly Der Spiegel.

"By 2020 we want to declare victory on unemployment."

The 67-page position paper says energy-saving and "green" sectors such as electric car manufacturing could employ two million Germans and transform the country into the "Silicon Valley of ecological industrial production."

Steinmeier envisages another million new jobs in health and geriatric care as Germany's population ages, with the remaining million jobs in creative industries such as media, as well as services and trade.

Unemployment data released last week showed just under 3.5 million people were out of work in Europe's biggest economy amid the country's worst postwar recession. The figure could hit 4.5 million by the middle of next year, economists say.

Conservative Economy Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg accused Steinmeier of making hollow promises.

"People are sick of being bombarded with pledges during election campaigns," Guttenberg told Bild am Sonntag newspaper.

"They are right to expect specific proposals. There are very few of those in the SPD plan."

A poll released Wednesday by independent institute Forsa showed Merkel's conservative Christian Union bloc with 38 percent support -- a record high for the year -- against just 23 percent for the Social Democrats (SPD).

Merkel, who has won praise from voters for her handling of the economic crisis, would like to ditch her awkward left-right "grand coalition" with the SPD and join forces with the opposition pro-business Free Democrats.

Most opinion polls currently forecast a ruling majority for such a coalition.

Pollsters say the SPD now has little chance of beating the conservatives and could only hope to achieve a score high enough to force Merkel back into a grand coalition.

Forsa chief Manfred Guellner told the Sunday newspaper Welt am Sonntag that the staid Steinmeier lacked the political instincts of his former boss, ex-chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, who clawed his way back from a similar deficit in 2005 to land the SPD nearly even with Merkel's Christian Union.

"He is clearly missed today," Guellner said of Schroeder, noting that he was also personally more popular than his challenger Merkel during the campaign four years ago. "Now it is the other way round."

AFP/Expatica

1 Comment To This Article

  • J Butler posted:

    on 3rd August 2009, 12:11:27 - Reply

    Where is he going to get the jobs to give the unemplyed?? Does he have his own Company where he can employ the people who are looking for jobs and want to work?? I am always surprised of politicians who say anything to get voted into office and then when they are in Office, NOTHING!!! How unrealisitic they are.