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With all the loses piling up on Schroeder's doorstep, does he still have a "mandate" to govern Germany? What exactly is considered a "mandate" in Germany? I'm asking these questions because I want a deeper perspective on the political culture on Germany and compare it to America.

By the way, Spain had a referendum on the EU constitution today. The turnout was predicted to be 41%. That is without threats of suicide bombings, beheadings and truck bombings. I just want to point that out.

Regime Change in Schleswig Holstein!

They didn't make it... Check tagesschau.de.

Yeah, better don´t celebrate too early - no regime change!! :-))

Does anybody else find it ridiculous that a Party does not have to get 5% just because it is Danish? Seems hypocritical to me given that some states or city states have quite a large Turkish population. Yet, the Turks do not get into the parliaments that easily.

A good question by Phil.

"Does anybody else find it ridiculous that a Party does not have to get 5% just because it is Danish?"

Welcome to PC fairlyand, Phil. It's something to do with it Danes having "ethnic- minority status", which means they are "special", simply for being Germans of Danish origin... (in other words there is no legitimate reason)

But hey, the Brussels politburo has told Latvia that it should-er, must-allow non-Latvian citizens to vote in local elections in Latvia. That almost half of all residents of Latvia are Russians, many of whom want Latvia to re-join the Rodina, means nothing to those dangerous clowns in Brussels. That is the nature of the euro-left.

Phil, the PC euro-left and the anti-American euro-left are not rational people. One cannot make logical assertions such as you do and expect a reasoned response from that lot. It's sad and pathetic, but that's where we are these days.

Even though this election is a big setback for Schroeder, I would not count him out right now. Even though I personally believe that his mandate is slipping by every state election that comes by, Schroeder has had a history of coming back from certain defeat. One could recall what happened back in 2002 when Schroeder was fighting for his political life against Herr Stoiber and was on his way to becoming the first incumbent German chancellor lose re-election. However, Schroeder's leadership after the German floods and the run up to the Iraq war gave Schroeder's campaign a much needed boost, and won re-election on the slimmest of margins.

I have not read much about Angela Merkel except that she opposes Turkey's entry into the EU and prefers that it gets a "special" membership, and she is a much bigger fan of the free-market than the current German PM. Her party, CDU, has had to endure intra-party fighting which could deflect much needed attention on Schroeder's weak position right now.

There is also the fact that elections are only a year and a half away. A lot can happen between now and 2006. The economy might start to pick-up, the Fischer scandal will be a faded memory, or ther government might start taking a tough line on immigration, an issue that is starting to increase prominence in voters.

I know this for sure because the same thing happened to Bush. In the early months of 2004, pundits ruled out Bush because of the ongoing violence in Iraq, the economy had failed to produce much needed manufacturing jobs in areas critical to his re-election, a yawning budget deficit, skyrocketing oil prices, and the Abu Ghraib and WMD scandal which almost ensnared his secretary of defense. With all those factors, Bush was re-elected nonetheless. Of course, credit should also be given to his highly disciplined campaign and his tough line against terrorism, which still resonated with the voters on the run-up to election day.

The special political treatment of the Danish minority in South-Schleswig has nothing to do with political correctness or the euro-left, but goes back to 1920 when per plebiscite Schlwesig was divided between Denmark and Germany. You can read about it in English at the SSW's website: http://www.ssw.dk/viewArticle.asp?content_id=25.

I know it hasn't got anything to do with the 'Euro-left' which seems to be blamed for everything here. But the fact that the special treatment goes back to 1920 does not make it right.

@Scott, Phil

the `special treatment` goes back to 1955. The Bonn Kopenhagener Erklärung. It is a treaty between Denmark and Germany. The minority Germans in Denmark had a representative in the Danish Parliament after national elections. For the Danish in Germany the same could happen only by avoiding the 5% regulation.

Well reading CNN it looks like the Danish Party will be the King maker and they lean towards the SDP. So Schroeder the backstabber and Joska will continue with aiding the dissolution of western civilization.

I will drink a fine Dutch beer in sympathy for you all. I will get my STG-58 out of my closet and make sure it is in working order, check to make sure all my magazines are in good order and check the condition of my ammo. Here is to NATO and the past. The future looks dismal. Herr Schroeder wants to sell NATO technology China. Every time I ask this question I hear Crickets, no answer just crickets. Why does Germany think this is good? What purpose does this serve? It increases the risk there to me. I am 90 miles from the Pacific ocean well in range of Chinese missiles and nuclear weapons.

What is wrong with those Danes? Why do they support the SPD?

what's wrong with you wingnuts - why can't you acceps other positions then yours?

Ahem
Are you saying that I’m a “wingnut” because I am not anti-American, pro-dictator socialist?

what a nonsensical remark,
it is not logical nor does it fit here

you are criticising a group because they support their political preference..... what are they supposed to do ?
oh, we´re glad we didn´t win.
duh !

the left should take your remark as an example, intolerant, belligerant and unlawfully acting as they are.

above @ ahem

Good old Gerhard. Sure, let's sell weapons systems to China, but turn our back on China's human rights record.

But, no, Schroeder is not a hypocrite. I seem to recall that he said that he would not run for Kanzler again if unemployment is still above four million. That was back before 2002.

As for his SPD up in Schleswig-Holstein, even though Frau Simonis vowed to not enter into a coalition with the SSW party prior to the election, as of this post, it sure seems like Rot-Gruen will dodge another bullet and remain in power with the SSW in tow. Figures. But it must be a weird feeling to have been defeated soundly by the CDU but remain in power of S-H. Too bad. One can only hope that the SSW doesn't do it.

Herman
The reason for my flippant remark towards ahem was in response to his childish suggestion that because we do not see eye to eye with the him/her we are “wingnuts”. How dare anyone call somebody names because their political views are different from theirs! What’s next, you shoot people who you disagree with you?

Sorry Herman!

@carl densing
I (sadly) agree. As long as the German opposition does not prove they are a viable alternative, everything remains open. If the economy turns around, Schröder will be very hard to stop.
As for your "mandate" question: Schröder answered this clearly after his marginal win: "Mehrheit ist Mehrheit" (majority is majority), meaning that he was willing to undergo a coalition with the Greens, even if it only would have the majority by one seat (instead of making a coalition with the CDU/CSU, which would have an overwhelming majority).
Personally, I think this was a good choice, since in a coalition of the two big parties, everything tends to drown in compromise. But there are many who think that only such a "great coalition" would have the power to realize substantial reforms.

@ Stuck in Germany

all is well

M,

I have to agree with you about the spd. I think they and their chancellor will build a strong germany and will make significant contributions to the Atlantic alliance.

This is the government not only needed but is one the people want.

I have great hopes not only for germany and germans but for the West.

Gee, M, I guess you're right!
Let's hope Red and Green have five more years and continue to bring prosperity and justice to Germany and the rest of the world.
Let's celebrate that!

It's arguable that, had the U.S. abandoned Western Europe (sans the U.K.) to the Soviets, the results would have been substantially the same. Their leaders now are as hard-left as those the Soviets would have installed, their populi have been successfully propagandized by state-organ media, and their churches have been abandoned to pedophiles. While the U.S. rightfully can claim to have won the Cold War--or WW III, if you prefer--there were two losers: The Soviets and the West Europeans, who resisted their own survival. Cui bono? Certainly not the United States, which would be wiser looking to the other West, East Asia, for allies.

@fuchur

Yeah, there are a few Moslems like that. I was having a few brews in a Kneipe in Berlin back in 1987, and was talking to a guy from Libya, who was smoking and drinking up a storm and hitting on some ugly German chick with whom he eventually left the place. He told me, he was a bad Muslim. On the other hand, just because someone is not disciplined in their beliefs, that doens't mean they can't be radicalized by propaganda and appeals to ethnic solidarity.

And though there are certainly exceptions, the German elite is hysterically anti-American - I live here, so I see, hear and read it every day.

Finally: "...but war? Remember that France has nukes. Would be a rather short war... ". What are they going to do - nuke their own cities?

I was watching Heute (on GermanTV) and they kept refering to the CDU as the conservatives. In today's Germany, what's the meaning of that label? What's the purpose of calling the Christ-Demokraten 'Konservativen'? What do Germans understand under the label 'conservative'? What's the reaction of the viewers?

What are the chances for real economic reform in Germany along the lines of Thatcher or Reagan?

@Mondane: What is wrong with those Danes? Why do they support the SPD?

They support "Scandanavian standards". I guess they feel the SPD is to close in its policies to American-style 'heartless' capitalism.

Well with the Dames in Germany having a special provision, then one can be assured this provision is also captured in the EU constitution. It seems just about everything else is.

Here is a great example of said constitution.

It also contains a great bundle of miscellaneous provisions about such things as abortion in Malta, "Hot Rolling Mills Nos 1 and 2" for a steel company in the Czech Republic, some rather frightening-looking stuff about the nuclear power plant in Slovakia and "the right to provide services by natural persons who do not enjoy hembygdsrätt/kotiseutuoikeus (regional citizenship) in Åland".

This is not a constitution, certainly not a constitution intended to be understood by those it affects. It is a vast agglomeration of decisions made by governments to take power over citizens of vastly differing countries.

This is probably another example of when Americans use a particular word and people like Phil and Ralf and others in Europe use the same word, it does mean something different.

So while the US constitution is only 12 pages long, including the page of the signatures, the EU constitution is more than 511 pages.

The Dames are safe as well as the spd. Which is another way of saying both germany and the Europe are safe.

It would personally surprise me if anyone who posts here has actually read this constitution. I could understand why germans might not read it immediately as you have no voice in this. Your elites have decided for you that this is good.

I am equally sure the 42% who voted in Spain this weekend for ratification have probably not read it either.


This Danish minority group is a joke. These people are all German citizens, they all speak German without an accent, most of them have German names and of course there is no ethnical differnce between Northern Germans and this so called " minority". They don't even have a website in the danish language.
While it is true that Danmark sufferd during the Third Reich like many other countries, the Danish and other Northeners were never oppressed because of their ethnicity, language or culture. In fact the Nazis liked them on a cultural and racial basis, they even encouraged marriages between Danish women and German soldiers.
This whole thing about protecting a danish minority by giving them seats in the parliament, even if they don't reach 5 % of the votes is ridiculous. In the past 60 years there have never been any problems between Germans and Danes or Danes and German Danes or Germans and Danish Germans . The SSW is a left leaning party and since Danmark now has one of the most right wing governments in Europe , that is very strict on immigration, they feel the need to play the Kingmaker for a German Red / Green left wing coalition.

@ Joe,

'Well with the Dames in Germany having a special provision, then one can be assured this provision is also captured in the EU constitution'

Would be surprised if there was something like this in the EU constitution. Elections for state parliaments remain a national matter. Since you are not sure about it yourself I assume you haven't read it yourself (althoug you pretend you know so much about it: abortion in Malta etc.). Would you mind providing a link?
The sad state of affairs is this one: a 512 page document that specifies how the EU is meant to work is still less complicated than the current mess of decision making.

But you are right in one point: I would like to get the chance to vote on it but I won't be able to.

It’s only a matter of time before the Germans and French accuse the Americans of being at fault for the Iranian’s refusal to yield. They’ll say, "You ruined the pretty little treaty we almost had completely negotiated."

First of all, Britain is in on these negotiations, too.

Secondly, without Russsian help Iran wouldn't be able to get nukes in the first place:

MOSCOW (Reuters) - President Vladimir Putin said on Friday he was convinced Iran was not trying to build a nuclear weapon and that Russia would press ahead with nuclear cooperation with the Islamic Republic.

Putin's defense of Iran, where Russia is building a nuclear power plant, comes in the face of U.S. concerns that Tehran could be using Russian know-how to covertly build a nuclear weapon.

"The latest steps by Iran convince Russia that Iran indeed does not intend to produce nuclear weapons and we will continue to develop relations in all sectors, including peaceful atomic energy," Putin told Iran's top nuclear negotiator, Hassan Rohani.

"We hope Iran will strictly stick to all agreements with Russia or the international community," Putin said at the start of talks with Rohani at the Kremlin.

The United States has criticized Moscow for pressing ahead with construction of a 1,000-megawatt reactor at Bushehr in southern Iran.

Russia's top nuclear officials are due to travel to Iran next week to finalize the final technicalities of its start-up later this year.

The question of Russia's nuclear ties with Iran is certain to figure in a summit between Putin and President Bush in the Slovak capital Bratislava on Feb. 24.

I think putting pressure on Russia would be more productive than the negotiations with Iran.

Phil,

Am a bit surprised you asked for a link as this is not one of the documents that is of any concern to me.

Here is what I think is a reasonable link.
http://ue.eu.int/igcpdf/en/04/cg00/cg00087-re01.en04.pdf

I think when you read this you are going to be surprised just what is in there and what is not.

If a constitution can talk about topics for Matla and steel mills surely the rights of Danes in germany is something that must also be protected.

I see you are going to prove me wrong once again by actually reading this. LOL.....wo is me!

If you do undertake this effort I guess we should not look for another post from you until the latter part of March.

Phil, all I can say then is.....enjoy!

Phil,

Actually, I have probably read a lot more of it than you have.......... or for that matter most people in here. I have, however, not read all of it.

The reason for this is I wanted to know what was in a document that caused so many people to want to give up their sovereignity.

I will admit to you I have not found the answer to that question but I am hoping you will.

I also read parts of it to compare it to my own constitution. There is really no comparison but then I fear we are once again using the same word to mean something very different.

I think you tipped that when you made the comment about decision making.

@ Joe,

I have actually read quite a bit about the constitution (both positive and negative accounts) and I hope you are reading arguments from both sides of opinion. Claiming that you have read more on it seems a bit petty to me. Because I have read up on the constitution I was surprised to read your comment about 'abortion in Malta' and nuclear power Plants in Slovakia.

'I see you are going to prove me wrong once again by actually reading this'

That's why I was glad for your link (346 pages... great). To find out more I searched (technology is great) for the words 'Malta', 'Slovak Republic', 'nuclear', 'abortion', 'steel', 'mills'. That took me quite a bit of time and what did I find? NOT ONE of your claims are included.
There seem to be two possibilities to me: The first is that you are only claiming to have read a lot about the constitution while actually making things up. The second (and more likely) possibility is that you read about those cases somewhere else. In that case I would really like another link (sorry for the hassle). Here in the UK I often read the Times and the Spectator (both Euro-sceptic) and I still haven't heard about the examples you give me. But I am always open to persuasion. As for the Danes in Germany, this is still a national matter, not a European one.

To end this post on a more friendly note: yes, the American constitution is a great one simply because it does not take 3 months to understand it. My point is that that a constitution is still better than the chaos we've got now. As for giving up sovereignity: Either you don't like the idea and are therefore opposed to it. But if you're a fan of it you should be determined to make it work: one step would be getting rid of stupid veto-rights.

Phil


Steel Plants......

@ Joe,

the document does not contain the word 'steel' as well

Phil,

Sorry your research failed you. The devil is in the details. But that is the way it is with every legal document. The elites have to love this constitution. Too bad you fail to understand it.

As an aside, it is good the french took a leading role in writing this document as they have managed to have 12 constitutions since 1789. Am sure they are going to get it right at some point.

Now to what you could not find. I think you should be able to find the first article I referenced IV –440. It is like past 330 but that depends on which document you are using.

If you read closely this paragraph which part of it I have copied for you, you will see like most of this constitution it makes reference to another set of documents. In that set, the Act of Accession, you will find a section referenced below as Title III. It is in this section the constitution refers to Czech Steel Mills.

As I said this Constitution is all in the details.

Hope you enjoy reading this.


Article IV – 440
Paragraph 6 (B)

This refers to


annexed to the Act of Accession which is an integral part of the Treaty referred to in Article IV-437(2)(e), and which have been incorporated in Title III of Part II of the Protocol on the Treaty and Act of Accession of the Czech Republic, the Republic of Estonia, the Republic of Cyprus, the Republic of Latvia, the Republic of Lithuania, the Republic of Hungary, the Republic of Malta, the Republic of Poland, the Republic of Slovenia and the Slovak Republic;
(c) this Treaty shall apply to the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man only to the extent necessary to ensure the implementation of the arrangements for those islands originally set out in the Treaty referred to in Article IV-437(2)(a), and which have been incorporated in Section 3 of Title II of the Protocol on the Treaties and Acts of Accession of the Kingdom of Denmark, Ireland and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, of the Hellenic
Republic, of the Kingdom of Spain and the Portuguese Republic, and of the Republic of Austria, the Republic of Finland and the Kingdom of Sweden.


TITLE III Provisions On the Restructuring of the Czech Steel Industry Article 42

Phil,

BTW I just want to tell you how disappointed I was that you could not find this. I was sure as a sophisticated nuance steeped European like yourself would have found locating this to be a piece of cake.

Now you might say this is not a direct reference to Czech steel mills and I would tell you again you are wrong. If this article was not in fact important, then I would present to you it would not be in this document.

The part about Malta is even more obscure but it is also there. I will not waste any more time with your document but I am equally sure tucked away in some even more obscure place are the rights of Danes in germany.

So while you consider this a constitution, I think most people and I am sure most Americans would not.

Again we use the same words but they have different meanings. There is a long and what seems to be an ever-growing list of words, which fall into this category.

Phil may be one of those paid to promote the acceptance of the EU constitution. They are hitting all sorts of blogs and forums. Who is paying them ?Why the EU of course. If it is such a good thing why the underhanded media campaign?

@Joe, Sock,

I wasn't promoting the constitution, just saying that it is better than the current mess. Don't put words into my mouth. Ideally I would like something similar to the American constitution but that's not going to happen. And SockPuppet: If the EU is paying people for promotion could you give me some contact details. I could use some cash:-)

@Joe
'If you read closely this paragraph which part of it I have copied for you, you will see like most of this constitution it makes reference to another set of documents.'

So there is a reference to another treaty, WOW. I every post you call me uninformed and god knows what. But have a long look at yourself. The European constitution has not been written after a revolution or a war of independence. Authors had to incorporate countless treaties that were signed prior to the setting up of the constitutional comission. And to be more precise: the Treaty of Accession are the conditions under which the new member-countries joined the EU in 2004 (hell of a long treaty again). Now you don't join the EU only to give up all the benefits that you were given for the sake of a constitution just one year later. Can I just say that I am disappointed that such an enlightened individual like you did not explain to me (stupid and uninformed European) what the Treaty of Accession is. Please keep me informed, otherwise I won't be able to understand what the EU is all about.

That's it from my side. I'm getting bored of making points only to be then called uninformed in some muddled and obscure arguments. Have a good day and call the EU-'Constitution' whatever you like.

Phil,

Would you call this a constitution?

Or would it be more correct to call it something else? Some other term maybe?

BTW it is your document. I note with interest the term you used "benefits".

Phil,

Have I ever called you either stupid or uninformed?

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