Struggling Merkel slammed for ad campaign
A German taxpayers pressure group attacked Chancellor Angela Merkel on Wednesday over newspaper adverts thanking citizens for overcoming the recession and calling on them to stick by the government.
Karl-Heinz Daeke, from the taxpayers' federation told AFP: "I can't believe the cheek" of the 2.8-million-euro (3.8-million-dollar) campaign that appeared in every major daily newspaper, which is a very rare event.
"Thank you, dear citizens. You have made Germany the country that has best overcome the global economic crisis," Merkel wrote in the advert from the government, not her conservative Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party.
"The world looks at our country and is talking of a miracle. I do not believe in miracles, but I do believe in the people of this country, in their ideas, in their good sense and in their engagement."
But she also took some of the credit for getting Europe's biggest economy through its worst postwar recession in 2009, saying government measures had kept a lid on unemployment and cut financial slack for families and firms.
Since winning a second term in September 2009, Merkel's popularity ratings have fallen ahead of a crunch year when six of Germany's 16 states hold elections.
At a conference of her conservative party on Monday, Merkel said that voters would soon warm to her government once the benefits of her "contentious" policies on energy, tax and healthcare became clear.
Germany, the world's second top exporter after China, was hit harder than most by the global recession, as demand for its goods dried up.
However, it has rebounded impressively and Berlin expects growth of 3.4 percent this year.
© 2010 AFP