Söder calls for center-right ‘bulwark’ against left in Germany

Unity essential against 'traffic-light' government says CSU leader

Söder calls for center-right ‘bulwark’ against left in Germany

As Germany’s conservatives prepare to hand over power to a Social Democrat-led government, CSU leader Markus Söder has appealed for unity to build a “bulwark” against the left.

“With a traffic-light government, we may face a new era in politics,” Söder told newspaper Die Welt, in an interview published Saturday. “It is important that the CDU and CSU show a new unity. We have to become the bulwark against the rise of the left in Germany.”

The traffic-light refers to a coalition of centre-left Social Democrats (SPD), Greens and the pro-business Free Democrats (FDP) that appears to be shaping up to form a government.

Three weeks after a general election, the first-placed SPD and their candidate for chancellor Olaf Scholz are in pole position to lead the next government. They have started talks with the Greens and the FDP and have already agreed on ambitious new energy goals.

The talks appear to have put paid to any hopes the conservatives had of forming the next government. The center-right, made up of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and its Bavarian partner, the Christian Social Union (CSU), has been undergoing a painful process of self-examination since its worst-ever election results last month.

On Saturday, CDU leader Armin Laschet took the blame. “Responsibility for the results is mine, as the leader and the candidate for chancellor,” he told a meeting of young CDU members in Münster. “The issue was a bitter one [and] nothing should be swept under the carpet,” he added, according to AFP.

Laschet also acknowledged the conservatives should prepare themselves to become the next opposition party in the Bundestag.

Coalition talks between the SPD, Greens and FPD are expected to last several weeks and, if successful, would lead to Schloz replacing Angela Merkel as chancellor.

Söder called on the center-right parties to put aside differences as they prepare for opposition. 

“We are two parties, but we have a common civic ideal. We should move closer together in style and content instead of talking publicly about each other,” Söder said.

In particular, he said the center-right should resist any attempts by the incoming government to rise taxes. “We will definitely not go along with any tax increases. We rather need tax cuts, ” he said

Source : Politico EU More   

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UK’s Hancock appears to lose UN job days after accepting it

Appointment had faced criticism from development campaigners

UK’s Hancock appears to lose UN job days after accepting it

The U.K.’s ex-Health Minister Matt Hancock seems to have lost his job as an U.N. envoy for Africa, just days after the announcement of his appointment unleashed a wave of congratulations from former-ministerial colleagues and indignation from development campaigners.

“Mr. Hancock’s appointment by the U.N. Economic Commission for Africa is not being taken forward,” U.N. spokesperson Stéphane Dujarric was quoted telling PassBlue, a journalism site specialised in U.N. issues

Hancock resigned from the U.K. government in June after he was caught on CCTV kissing an aide in breach of government social-distancing guidelines. At the time, he was also facing heavy criticism for his initial management of the COVID-19 pandemic in Britain.

On Tuesday, Hancock announced his appointment as the U.N. Economic Commission for Africa’s envoy for financial innovation and climate change. The job was seen as an opportunity for the disgraced politician to rebuild his reputation.

“I’ll be working … to help African economic recovery from the pandemic and promote sustainable development,” he wrote on Twitter. Former colleagues rushed to express support. Foreign Secretary Liz Truss and Sajid Javid, Hancock’s successor as health minister, were among those tweeting congratulations.

But Hancock’s appointment soon came under fire. It was announced on the same day that the British parliament released a highly critical report on the government’s early response to the pandemic. Campaigners also pointed to Hancock’s role in the international response to the crisis.

Development campaign group Global Justice Now cited leaked documents indicating Britain and the U.S. blocked attempts by poorer countries to manufacture their own vaccines. The London-based organisation welcomed the news that Hancock would not be given the job.

“It’s right for the UN to reconsider this appointment,” it tweeted. “The last thing the African continent needs is a failed British politician. This isn’t the 19th Century.”

There was no immediate public comment on the news from Hancock. An announcement of his appointment was no longer available on the website of the U.N. Economic Commission for Africa.

Source : Politico EU More   

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