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German low-key EU campaigning

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German low-key EU campaigning

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Election campaigning in Germany… A poster here, a poster there… Relatively little is wholly targetting the European vote; The parties are taking the public pulse for a national poll in September. Anxiety about jobs and growth and the effect of the Lisbon Treaty is part of the mix.

The far-left “Die Linke” party’s Lothar Bisky is especially wary: “We are critical of the EU but not against the EU. The Lisbon Treaty is based on a neoliberal ideology which has produced the greatest financial and economic crisis in 80 years. Why should we support that?”

The SPD Social Democrats are seen trailing the CDU Christian Democrats by more than 10 percent. They are in coalition together now, and both support the treaty.

Chancellor Angela Merkel shared with university students her optimism about eventual full Lisbon ratification in a second Irish referendum on the treaty. She said: “I trust the Irish people. They will choose Europe. As decided by the 27 member states last December, the treaty should become effective by the end of this year, and I’m sure we will make it!” Hecklers angry about their tuition fees interrupted Merkel. She has other wrangling to consider, with the SPD. Even if it is looking at winning a lesser portion of the vote, it wants a place in the next European Commission for Martin Schulz, who is head of the Socialists group in the European Parliament. Both parties have focused their campaigns on domestic issues, with the conservatives highlighting their handling of the economy in difficulty.