Germany’s main opposition leaders have told Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder his plans to kick-start the economy are a step in the right direction but do not go far enough.
Christian Democrat leader Angela Merkel and Edmond Stoiber of the Christian Social Union had two hours of talks with Shroeder on jobs and tax cuts. Against a backdrop of falling support the German leader has proposed a package of measures including reducing corporate taxes. Schroeder told parliament that they had not agreed on every issue but they have made progress. He added that this is what the country expected. “We agreed to fight together against unemployment,” he said. Merkel said the meeting was worthwhile because it exerted pressure on the government. However she said that if her party was in power it would have come up with better proposals. The measures require the backing of the opposition to make it through parliament. Shroeder says he believes unemployment, which has reached post-war highs, will begin to fall by the end of this year. Analysts have given his plan a mixed reception, with some questioning whether it would have much of an impact on the jobless figures. Left wing opponents have portrayed the corporate tax cuts as a handout to big business.