'Shut your trap, Merkel!' French MEP slams German Chancellor over call for more cuts
Just as Angela Merkel finished reminding France and Italy (again) that they weren’t making enough progress on tightening their budgets, a left-wing French politician reacted with a tweet, reading: ‘Shut your trap, Frau Merkel! France is free.’
The French MEP, Jean-Luc Melenchon, in the same tweet, continuing in French, told the ‘frau’ (woman) to concentrate instead on her own country’s poverty and crumbling infrastructure.
This was in response to Merkel’s warnings for the two countries to trim their spending, which she outlined in a recent interview to Die Welt am Sonntag.
"The Commission has made clear that what has been put on the table so far is insufficient. I would agree with this."
Maul zu, Frau #Merkel ! Frankreich ist frei. Occupez-vous de vos pauvres et de vos équipements en ruines !
— Jean-Luc Mélenchon (@JLMelenchon) December 7, 2014
In late November, France, Italy and Belgium were given until March 2015 to start spending according to EU rules. The first two countries have been facing increasing pressure in 2014 and experts worried they would overspend. On Monday, the EU repeated the comments with an added warning that the two may face disciplinary action.
The German Chancellor’s spokesman Steffen Siebert told DW that while he respects the French politician’s right to express his opinions freely, Melenchon could have picked “a friendlier formulation” for them.
Worse criticism came from the French Finance Minister Michel Sapin, who called Melenchon’s remarks “rude, insulting and stupid.” Reuters also cited the minister as saying that “Germany is in a better position now because of the reforms it did a decade ago,” he added, saying it would take some time for France to implement changes, but that thanks to efforts made already, the French are set to make even bigger headway than previously thought.
The far-left Melenchon ran for the French presidency in 2012 and has been a loud voice among critics of Merkel and her policies, often calling them “narrow-minded and very dogmatic.”
But reactions to Merkel’s economic assessments also came from Italy, whose undersecretary for EU affairs Sandro Gozi had harsh words.
"The Italian government has never permitted itself to hand out marks to a European Union member country and we ask Germany for the same respect," he said, adding that Germany has outstanding contributions to the European cause, such as investing more and fixing the balance-of-payment imbalances, that “Europe has been waiting on Berlin to make for a long time, and which so far has not happened.”
Germany’s finance minister, Wolfgang Shauble, had a more praising tone with regard to France and Italy’s recent activities in that sector.
"If you look at the news and what has been done in the countries over the past weeks, then you see that Italy, for example, has passed a remarkable reform to its labor market in its legislative assemblies, and France has been taking additional measures all the time," he said.