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SPD's Steinmeier attacks Merkel over credit crisis

SPD's Steinmeier attacks Merkel over credit crisis
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German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier has hit out at Chancellor Angela Merkel over the recent global financial crisis. In a fiery speech Steinmeier blamed Merkel for not preventing the excesses which had helped create the recent economic turmoil. ‘‘We’re at the dawn of a new era, this time is our time, the time of social democracy,’‘ said Steinmeier.

The 52 year-old also claimed the SPD was better placed to handle the economic crisis. ‘‘A time of crisis is the time for decisions. Let us take up this fight. We are the best force in Europe,’‘ he said.

The SPD congress had been specially called to announce his candidacy for chancellor in 2009. Steinmeier was joined by party SPD veteran Franz Meuntefering, who will take over as the party’s new chairman, after previous incumbent Kurt Beck was forced out last month.

Squeezed between Merkel’s conservatives on the right and ex-party chief Oskar Lafontaine on the left, the SPD has found political life hard going over the last three years.

Steinmeier also said new measures were needed to protect ordinary Germans from the recent financial fall out.