Πηγή: European Voice
By Toby Vogel
Sept 2 2013
Centre-left challenger calls for “Marshall Plan” for ailing eurozone members.
Peer Steinbrück, who hopes to unseat Chancellor Angela Merkel in Germany's general election on 22 September, has attacked Merkel for imposing “a deadly dose” of austerity on Greece and other troubled eurozone economies.
The Social Democratic challenger made his comments during a 90-minute live television debate last night (1 September), the only one before the election later this month.
But Steinbrück's criticism was not substantially different from earlier attacks that Merkel has so far been able to shake off; having served as Merkel's finance minister in the ‘grand coalition' of 2005-09, the centre-left Steinbrück is constrained in his attacks.
Steinbrück, who has been lagging badly in opinion polls, accused Merkel's centre-right coalition of pushing Greece into a “vicious circle” of debt and depression, and said that eurozone economies in trouble needed “a second Marshall Plan”, a reference to American aid that helped European economies recover after the Second World War.
He said that Germany “must not forget” US aid after 1945.
Gerhard Schröder, a Social Democrat who is Merkel's predecessor as chancellor, a couple of weeks ago accused Merkel of lying to voters about the need for a new bail-out for Greece.
Merkel has been trying to keep the question of another Greek bail-out under wraps until after the election, a bid made harder when Wolfgang Schäuble, her finance minister, last month admitted that another bail-out might be on the cards.
Steinbrück did manage to corner Merkel on the alleged spying on Europeans by US intelligence services, an issue that has made waves in Germany.
Opinion polls after last night's debate were inconclusive about who might have won, with one poll giving the lead to Merkel and another to Steinbrück.
Analysts suggest that Steinbrück's main chance would be the implosion of the Free Democrats, Merkel's junior partners in the current coalition, which would force her to seek the support of either the Greens or the Social Democrats.