News & Politics

Germany: Social Democrat Leader Schulz Forced to Step Down After Coalition with Merkel

FILE - In this May 25, 2014 file picture Social Democratic party politician Martin Schulz, lifts a thumb during a European election party in Berlin.SPD head Sigmar Gabriel told Der Stern magazine his party would have better chances if someone else stood as its candidate for chancellor. The party said Tuesday Jan. 24, 2017 Gabriel instead proposed Martin Schulz, who recently decided not to seek another term as European Parliament president to return to domestic politics, as the chancellor candidate. (Michael Kappeler/dpa via AP)

German Social Democrat leader Martin Schulz announced on Tuesday that he resigned as head of the SDP party. His resignation became effective immediately. Although a successor has been nominated — Andrea Nahles — she will have to be confirmed by the party’s members.

Schulz had faced relentless criticism from fellow SPD members for agreeing to a new coalition with Christian Democrat (CDU) Chancellor Angela Merkel, and attempting to become Germany’s new foreign minister in a CDU-SPD cabinet.

“With my resignation from office and decision not to participate in the government, I want to bring the personnel debate in the SPD to an end so that the members can really concentrate on what is in the coalition agreement,” Schulz told German reporters after announcing his resignation. “I depart this office without bitterness or resentment.”

Less than a year ago, Schulz returned to Germany. He had been the president of the European Parliament for several years. During his reign in that rubber-stamp parliament, Schulz became known as an outspoken enemy of national movements like Nigel Farage’s UKIP in Britain and Geert Wilders’ PVV in the Netherlands. He routinely used the power of his office to shut down critics of the Grand European Project and to portray them as little more than modern Nazis.

As such, there will be very few — if any — conservative Germans (and Europeans in general) inclined to feel pity for him. I know I don’t. The guy has been an enemy of everybody believing in national sovereignty. The day he left the European Parliament to head back home to Germany was, as far as I’m concerned, the best moment in the last ten years in European politics.

Well, that is until Tuesday.

Here some videos of exchanges between Farage and Schulz (and his allies):