Germany slams Sarkozy over Libya nuclear deal
Germany is unhappy with French President Nicolas Sarkozy who signed earlier this year a number of deals with Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi, including promises to build a nuclear reactor. German critics are accusing him of going it alone and potentially endangering Europe.
The critics have questioned the wisdom of promoting atomic energy in a country that until 2003 had been trying to develop a nuclear weapons program. According to the Spiegel, many German commentators and politicians argue that Libya is still a dictatorship and so its promises should be viewed with caution.
Gernot Erler, a junior minister with the Social Democrats in Germany's Foreign Ministry, described the French deal as politically "problematic." Speaking to business daily Handelsblatt on Friday, he accused Paris of acting against Germany's interests. The nuclear deal involves a subsidiary of the French nuclear firm Areva, which is 34 percent owned by Germany's Siemens. He said that since the export of nuclear technology could affect European security, there should be consultation between the German and French governments.
On his part, the chairman of the German parliament's foreign affairs committee, Ruprecht Polenz, warned the French leader against weakening Europe with his solo activities. "In foreign policy there should be agreement with European partners," he told Reuters Friday. "Even if it takes time, France should act to strengthen the common European foreign and security policies."
Polenz, a member of Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democrats, said that in his opinion Libya was not stable and did not respect human rights. He agreed that the country should be helped to rejoin the international community -- "but not with nuclear reactors."
The head of Germany's Green Party, Reinhard Bütikofer, slammed the deal, while speaking to the Passau Neue Presse newspaper on Friday. He accused Sarkozy of "reckless and nationalistic" behavior, and questioned whether one should trust a dictator's word even if he had renounced nuclear weapons.