Former German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder (SPD) has sharply criticized Western policy towards Russia in an interview with the news magazine Spiegel. Schröder also directly attacked Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) over the German Federal Government’s Russian policy. “Berlin should never have allowed the EU Commission to negotiate only with Ukraine on the EU Association, and without Russia," he said. He also described the attempts to isolate Russia internationally as fatal. As a Chancellor, he would never have authorized the exclusion of Russia from the G8 group: "Dialogue is absolutely necessary during crisis,” said Schröder in his Spiegel interview. In addition, he displayed an understanding of Russia’s concern over NATO expansion: “With the demise of the Soviet Union, the Warsaw Pact has ceased to exist, while NATO not only has persisted, but has expanded considerably to the east". Incomprehensible, considers Schröder however, is the Polish and Baltic states’ fear of their Russian neighbor. He knows "no one, not even in Russia, who would be crazy enough to question the territorial integrity of Poland or the Baltic states.”
The crash of the Germanwings passenger aircraft in the French Alps in which 150 people lost their lives dominated the news in Germany. In connection with reporting, the role of the mainstream media has been controversial during such disasters. The editor of the liberal-left daily newspaper TAZ, Ines Pohl, made a cynical comment about the plane crash on Twitter: "It almost seems as if Germany can finally fulfill the urgent desire to claim for itself a disaster." And in the liberal-conservative BILD, columnist Franz Josef Wagner wrote: “Did the passengers nibble nuts, drink Coca Cola, and look at the sun through the window? Were the babies whiny and annoying? What was the mood in the plane that flew to death? I hope they were happy before they died.” Generally speaking, Germans no longer trust their mainstream media. In a survey conducted by the "Infratest dimap" Institute in December 2014, two-thirds of the respondents (63 percent) claimed to have little or no confidence in media coverage, for example, on the Ukraine conflict. Only one third (33 percent) described it as trustworthy. In comparison, 42 percent trust the news coverage of the war on the "Islamic State.”
The Evangelical Church in Germany has been passionate about "gender mainstreaming" and LGBT propaganda. For example, the regional Evangelical Church in Baden is in support of advancing equality for people of different sexual orientations or identities. On April 17th, the church leadership intends to hold a meeting on the topic together with the Protestant University of Freiburg. The project has led to protests in conservative circles within the parishes.
Family and Bioethics
Mentally handicapped people should have the right to vote in Germany, and that they have hitherto been excluded from active and passive suffrage is "an unacceptable discrimination,” said the Disability Officer of the Federal Government, Verena Bentele. The so-called discriminated-against group includes people who need "support in all matters,” meaning "strongly physically disabled people with additional learning disabilities, demented or comatose people with severe traumatic brain injury, and people with psychosocial impairment,” as per the German Institute for Human Rights. According to the Institute, there are more than 10,000 people affected. Disability Officer Bentele wants to see to it that the disabled are allowed to participate in future elections. The right to vote is a basic human right, and it belongs to the essence of democracy, said Bentele.