Germany. The terrorist act in the United States in
September had domestic policy repercussions in Germany.
Countryaah, Chancellor Gerhard Schröder's decision that German troops
should participate in the military effort against
Afghanistan was met by protests mainly from the coalition
partner the environmental party, but also on their own
Social Democratic ranks. But Schröder turned it into a
matter of confidence, and in November passed a vote of no
confidence with a slight margin: 334 of 336 necessary votes.
Christian Democratic CDU voted against Schröder even though
the party supported the participation.
Suspected terrorists were hunted in the country, not
least when it turned out that several of the US aircraft had
studied in Hamburg. A number of people were also arrested
and new laws were passed to fight terror.
The crisis of mad cow disease, BSE, harvested its first
political victims at the beginning of the year when the
Minister of Health and Agriculture resigned. When Schröder
appointed a successor, he tried to repair the damage to some
extent by extending the Minister of Agriculture's
responsibility to "consumer safety". As new "super-minister"
for all these issues, environmentalist Renate Künast was
elected, who then resigned as a speaker in the party.
At the beginning of the year, Defense Minister Rudolf
Scharping outlined earlier plans for heavy cuts to the
military, by reducing staff and the closure of garrisons.
The savings of DEM 1 billion a year would be used for
high-tech military investments.
The German economy was in a deep slump and there was not
much at the end of the year to indicate a speedy recovery.
Unemployment rose by one percentage point to 9% and growth
during the year seemed to fall to a low 0.25%, compared with
3% the previous year.