Blog: Simon WarburtonAre you there Chancellor?

Simon Warburton | 10 June 2010

So finally, after what seems like months of wrangling the cat is out of the bag and Germany has finally turned down Opel's request for loan guarantees.

I feel as if I've virtually been at the negotiations myself between Nick Reilly and the German economics ministry, having attempted to contact the mandarins with almost zero luck.

It's become a template. I ring the ministry and we establish I'd like to speak about the Opel situation. The gatekeeper knows it's me but bats me back with a mournful "they're in meetings" reply.

I ask when anyone is free and then we go through the rigmarole of repeating my telephone number for a call back.

With a cheery assurance that someone will be in contact, we go our separate ways until the dance begins again either that afternoon or the following morning.

The economics ministry website isn't much better. The last entry is for 25 May on the serious and worthy topic of: "Joint Eurobond sets wrong incentives - Germany lives up to its responsibility in Europe."

Having established that Germany is living up to its responsibility - I have to say my Eurobond knowledge is sketchy - I look at economics minister Rainer Bruderle's improbably smiling face - is economics that much fun? - in vain for any mention of what is the topic du jour for the country - i.e. Opel's billion Euro loan guarantee request. Er, there's nothing.

I try the finance ministry in an attempt to weasel my way through, but am firmly pointed back to economics. I was even startled this morning when talking to the German Federal Government office to be asked: "Would you like to talk to Chancellor Merkel?"

Well, yes I would and I dutifully leave contact details.

It appears Merkel and Bruderle - given their different political affiliations in Germany's coalition - are not exactly singing from the same hymn sheet when it comes to Opel.

The one, a liberal looking to distance himself from government intervention, the other, a Christian Democrat, acutely aware her administration is not exactly flavour of the month and eyeing all the potential affect on jobs and factories, seem to be coming at this from polar opposites.

So, if you are reading Angela, please give me a call.


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