Schroeder and Bush reject Blair's G8 bid: report

4th July 2005, Comments 0 comments

4 July 2005, BERLIN - In a rare team-up, German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder and U.S. President George W. Bush want to "torpedo" plans by British Prime Minister Tony Blair to borrow money and tax air travel to fund African G8 aid programmes, a report said Sunday.

4 July 2005

BERLIN - In a rare team-up, German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder and U.S. President George W. Bush want to "torpedo" plans by British Prime Minister Tony Blair to borrow money and tax air travel to fund African G8 aid programmes, a report said Sunday.

The normally well-informed German magazine Der Spiegel said on its website that Schroeder and Bush - whose relations were badly shaken by German opposition to the Iraq war - have found common ground in skepticism over Blair's bid to double aid to the developing world to USD 50 billion (EUR 42 billion) over the next five years.

"In seldom harmony Schroeder and Bush are seeking to torpedo the multi-billion dollar plans of the British premier," said Der Spiegel.

The report was immediately denied by Schroeder's deputy spokesman, Thomas Steg, who said the German leader would take "a constructive approach" at the July 6 to 8 summit of leaders from the Group of Eight (G8) industrial nations at Gleneagles in Scotland.

Der Spiegel said Schroeder and Bush oppose Blair's proposal to finance the extra aid money by imposing a EUR 10 surcharge on airline tickets for international flights and EUR 5 for inner-European flights.

Berlin is also angry over suggestions by Blair to finance more aid to Africa by taking out loans from British banks.

"We pay the interest and British banking houses get fat fees," said a senior aide to Schroeder as quoted by Der Spiegel.

Ties between Blair and Schroeder appear to have been badly chilled after the British leader blocked agreement at a European Union (E.U.) summit last month over the bloc's new budget.

Schroeder, who faces a tough bid to win a third term in general elections expected September 18, will not want to be seen at the G8 as playing fast and loose with German money or raising air travel taxes just as voters prepare to leave on summer holidays.

DPA

Subject: German news

0 Comments To This Article