Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
Well, there doesn't seem to be a joyful reaction coming from the press:

Spiegel Online: Merkel Turns Germany into a "Grand Pimp"

Cowards, liars, short-sighted opportunists, and -- well -- pimps. Those are the linguistic darts currently being thrown in the direction of Angela Merkel's coalition government. And that even before the agreement has been reached.

In the last four weeks of talks aimed at forming a governing coalition, Germany's two main parties -- the Christian Democrats under chancellor-in-waiting Angela Merkel and the Social Democrats -- have quietly transformed themselves. Reforming the country's flagging economy seems no longer to be a top priority.

And German commentators are not happy. Rather than show any vision, editorialists say on Friday, the country's leading politicians have instead opted for tax hikes that may help plug budget holes but will hurt businesses and keep consumers out of the shops. Party negotiators have agreed to raise sales tax to 19 percent from 16 percent from January 2007. They are still discussing a possible tax on the wealthy in talks expected to finally come to a close late Friday evening.

Financial Times Deutschland says the government's plans are causing outrage across the country. "A handful of politicians are sitting together in Berlin and devastating Germany," writes the paper in an editorial next to a cartoon showing an unhappy German left with nothing but his vest and underpants after his empty-pocketed trousers have been taken away from him. Not a single member of the negotiating teams has come up with any proposals that could be termed forward-looking or confidence inspiring, the paper says. "What's happening in Berlin is an attack on democracy." Ordinary Germans are losing faith in the parliamentary system, it warns darkly. "The makers of the grand coalition are reducing the state to the function of a grand pimp that doesn't give a hoot about rationality, promises or the future -- and which appears to be primarily focused on looking after itself."

by Fran on Fri Nov 11th, 2005 at 02:36:47 PM EST

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