Salzburger Nachrichten, June 11, 2016
Translated from German by Tom Winter, June 19, 2016
Plain-spoken criticism of the German Administration and European politics in Salzburg:
Former German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder considers that the sanctions against Russia are wrong. The former politician said it at the traditional early summer event of the German Chamber of Commerce in the Salzburg Residenz.
But if the government leaders want to maintain the sanctions, they should “not be so cowardly as to not put themselves forward to justify them to the people,” said Schroeder. He called for a significant easing policy towards Russia and for a continuation of accession negotiations with Turkey, because “Europe needs Turkey and Russia especially for the sake of national security.”
In this he splits from the US, for whom Russia is only one factor on the global stage.
So it has therefore been a serious error losing sight of the necessary sensitivity when, in view of the anniversary [75th anniversary! –tr] of the German attack on the Soviet Union in June 1941, Germany has taken the lead of NATO units on the Russian border.* Schroeder saw this as setting a spiral in motion that could bring on an adverse affect on the Ostpolitik of Chancellor Helmut Schmidt and Willy Brandt.
If Europe has no wish to subside vis-a-vis the United States and China, it needs more integration, because only as a community does it have a chance to keep up in the global competition, said the Socialist ex-chancellor. “It must therefore be a two-speed Europe, with the euro zone as the core.”
Translator note: Such polite language! The feeling I got was “WTF were they thinking?” — which would perhaps express the former Chancellor’s thought. The anonymous reporter has summarizes, rather than quotes, the Chancellor’s words, and perhaps made them fit to print. Or, more likely, the highly experienced former Chancellor has a very good filter. Please pardon my rambling. — Tom.