Articles by Tony Barber



So Much Will Depend on the Prime Minister

According to a joke doing the rounds in Brussels, two Eurocrats are discussing the European Union's Russia policy. ""I wonder what things are going to be like after Putin,"" says one. ""Hard to say,"" replies the other. ""A lot will depend on the new prime minister.""

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Schroder Can Upset Kohl's Steady Reign

In the 49-year history of the Federal Republic of Germany, no chancellor has stepped down from office as a direct result of a national election. That record, which bears witness to postwar Germany's unusual political stability, may be shattered in six months' time now that Gerhard Schr?der has surged forward as the opposition Social Democrats' undisputed challenger to Chancellor Helmut Kohl. If the Social Democrats are to regain power at the national level for the first time since 1982, then Schroder is undoubtedly the man to front their cause. He is much more popular among German voters than the SPD's two other leading figures, Oskar Lafontaine and Rudolf Scharping, who lost to Kohl in the 1990 and 1994 elections respectively. True, Schroder has weaknesses. It is not entirely clear what he believes in, or whether he feels a need to believe in anything.