The junior partner in Germany’s next government has approved the deal that brings it back into power. It is a moment of triumph for the liberal Free Democrats led by Guido Westerwelle. But not everyone in the country is quite so enthusiastic.
Westerwelle will be Germany’s new Foreign Minister but his lack of experience has raised questions over whether he is the right man for the job. Today, the coalition agreement will be formally backed by the country’s conservatives. Yet, as Angela Merkel embarks on her second term as Chancellor, her agenda has been savaged in the media, notably her plans to cut income taxes by 24 billion euros. Influential weekly ‘Der Spiegel’ warns the centre-right to “take care” while public broadcaster ARD asked “Who will pay for this?” The Greens are among the harshest critics. They want to eat away at the new coalition, producing a chocolate bar to illustrate the point. Among environmentalists’ objections is the new alliance’s approval of the production of GM potatoes by German chemical giant BASF. The highly controversial decision has prompted outrage from green campaigners who fear genetically-modified crop contamination will be the result.