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German minister Jürgen Rüttgers' offending Romanian workers intensifies the electoral race and encourages extremists

de Dani Rockhoff, transl/adapt. C.B.
Luni, 7 septembrie 2009, 18:58 English | Politics

"In Romania, they can't control production. In contrast to workers from the Ruhr valley, Romanian workers don't turn up at seven o'clock in the morning for the first shift or stay until work finishes or for extra-hours. They come and go when they want and do not know what they're doing, that is why they can't event put the handy on", Christian-Democratic minister of the Nordrhein-Westfalen, Jürgen Rüttgars, said, quoted by the German press last month. He did not forget Nokia's moving its plant from Bochum to Cluj either.

Despite the fact that he apologised for the offences he had brought to the Romanian workers, his statements continue to raise protests. Rüttgars (CDU) made the speech during electoral campaigning in the end of August in Münster and Duisburg. Speaking about the Chinese investors, he stated: "If they won't invest in Duisburg, they will be strangled until they'll find Duisburg beautiful".

The social-democrats (SPD) and the green (Die Grünen) politicians reacted and Rüttgers apologised: "I did not want to offend anyone, but if this happened, I am sorry". He added that the statements were made before the workers in Nordrhein-Westfalia, whose performance are world-wide renowned and who lost their jobs because of a wrong decision Nokia took.

The SPD candidate running for chancellor, Frank Walter Steinmeier, spoke against Rüttgers during his electoral campaign in Duisburg: "It is a shame that a German minister offends the Romanians and mocks the Chinese". These statements "encourage extremists" and "harms the country's foreign policy", the current vice-chancellor said.

The chief of the socialist movement in the German Parliament Gregor Gysi (Die Linke) described Rüttgers' statements as "dangerous and embarrassing", "an electoral campaign with nationalist promises, at a pub table level". The Green party's representative Renate Künast was quoted by Hamburger Abendblatt to state: "What Rüttgers says is pure racism". According to her, this is not the first time Rüttgers goes down that route. "Children instead of Indians", was, apparently, another of his logos.

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