On Wednesday, chancellor Angela Merkel was guest in a show held by four YouTube bloggers. Merkel was already interviewed on YouTube in 2015, but this time, she will be questioned by four bloggers, who come from different backgrounds or subjects. The interview, that was being streamed on YouTube with the name #DeineWahl (which is a play on words with two meanings of Wahl – Election and Choice – and means: Your Election, Your Choice) is aimed at all young people, especially the voters between 18 and 24 years. In the following there is an overview on the topics mentioned, divided by the topics each interviewer has focused on.
In the first part, the Angela Merkel was confronted with questions about social inequality and education in Germany. According to statistics, 12.9 million people in Germany were described as poor in 2015, which means a family has 2000€ and less to live with each month. Angela Merkel mentions, that the unemployment rate has decreased to half the number it has been in 2006. This fact is true, as well as the minimum wage, that helps every worker to get enough money for himself. What Merkel doesn’t mention in that aspect is the fact, that both policies were not put into realization by the CDU, but rather by the partner SPD. But one of her main goals for a new legislative period, is working on better education, and especially on the equality of chances for education. Every child should have the right of staying in a daycare facility, to help on improving education of children from lower educated families. This is still a problem today, that social background can be a huge factor for a young child’s future education – and it is important that this will be changed!
Merkel wants to work on a standard German education. Today, every state is responsible for school education, which leads to different levels of knowledge in different schools. The Federal state cannot dictate each state what to teach, but this injustice in different standards should be reduced, but it must not lead to a lower quality of education, Merkel noted. Digital education and connection is another aspect, that should be put into focus in the next years.
Another important topic was the German industry, especially the automotive industry. The flagship industry’s image suffered a lot, after the latest diesel scandal. With almost one million employees, the car industry is too important for both German economy and society, to leave it untreated. According to Merkel, politicians need to learn from the past, and cooperate with car companies, with being independent at the same time. New control systems, like the Real Drive Emission (RDE), will help consumers to recognize a car’s real emission.
The development of more efficient electric cars should become one of the main goals for the next years. Merkel had the vision, that in the year of 2020 there will be one million e-cars in Germany. As for today, this number is not realistic, but that is why the government wants to improve on digital infrastructure, to provide for more charging stations across the country. Merkel also said, that the Federal vehicle fleet should become more environment friendly, to also set an example.
In the process of improving digital infrastructure, four billion Euro should be invested during the next years, e. g. to expand fiber optic cables throughout Germany. This is not only important for better internet connections, which are needed for a better working economy, but also for future plans, like autonomous driving.
Another major part were questions about foreign relations, especially since German relations with Turkey are difficult at the moment. German-Turkish journalist Deniz Yücel is in a Turkish prison for five months now, and there are no signs of release in the near future. According to Merkel, it is difficult to build pressure on Turkish president Erdogan, because almost 50% of Turkish population did not support Erdogan in the referendum, so sanctions against the Turkey would also hurt Erdogan’s opponents. The fact that Yücel has a dual citizenship, makes legal negotiations difficult. Diplomatic means, like stopping Turkey’s EU membership negotiations, but also economic sanctions could be a solution.
In the case of the conflict between the United States and North Korea, Angela Merkel has a clear opinion: “There is no military solution for this conflict”. An escalation between both parties can be prevented, if there will be enough talks.
The interview was not expected to bring out new insights on Merkel’s election campaign, but the goal was rather to give an overview on the relevant topics to young people. The whole interview has to be seen with some critical aspects, since Merkel was not interrogated by professional journalists. Looking back one can say, she did not have to face critical questions, which made her appearance look very confident.
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