Guttenberg—in the Footsteps of Stoiber
When the former prime minister of Bavaria and federal politician Edmund Stoiber stepped down from political office in 2007, he was invited to join the EU bureaucracy heading up the High Level Group of Independent Stakeholders on Administrative Burdens. This body is tasked with reducing red tape in the EU institutions. He holds that position, under a strengthened mandate concluded in October last year, till December 2012.
It is interesting to note that his fellow Christian Social Union (csu) member Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg—previously holding the posts of economics minister in the German government, followed by that of minister of defense before resigning all political positions—has also now been invited to take up a bureaucratic post in the European Union.
Guttenberg’s return to the public spotlight, following eight months away from its glare, has been rapid following his appearance at the Halifax International Security Forum, the return of his wife to an active television role in Germany, and the release of his best-seller book—all in the space of days in late November. This has now been followed up, rapid fire, with Monday’s announcement that “European Commission Vice President Neelie Kroes has invited Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg, a former federal minister of defense, and of economics and technology, in Germany, to advise on how to provide ongoing support to Internet users, bloggers and cyber-activists living under authoritarian regimes” (European Commission press release, December 12).
The post places Guttenberg back onto the world stage as he is tasked with the responsibility to “liaise with member states, third countries and ngos which are committed to work in this area and advise on how to advance the strategy in a coordinated and effective manner” (ibid).
There can be no doubt—being very aware of a certain clamor for his return to active politics at a time when Germany severely lacks any leader of real charisma during Europe’s present crisis—that Guttenberg is playing a careful hand, soaking up the publicity surrounding his return to the public spotlight, while at the same time not being completely drawn to make any declarative statement on the prospect of an imminent return to politics.
As rumors circulate that Guttenberg may be planning in the wings to create a new political party from which to reenter German politics by election year 2013 (though for both political and ideological reasons he has his detractors), certain voices are signaling their support for such a move.
Focus reported last week that “The former district administrator and csu-rebel Frau Gabriele Pauli can imagine setting up a new party with ex-Minister Guttenberg.” Pauli further commented, “In Germany, the population would be prepared to consider serious alternatives to the established parties. … The country needs leaders with charisma, and Guttenberg had the great trust of the population” (December 9).
One source cited Guttenberg as denying an imminent return to German politics. “This is not a political comeback,” Guttenberg insisted at a joint Brussels news conference. “I’ve moved to the United States and I’m not planning to come back in the next few weeks or months.”
Of course, that statement leaves the door wide open for a comeback by Guttenberg within any period which exceeds “weeks or months.”
In the meantime, two once powerfully influential German politicians, Edmund Stoiber—protégé of the former strongman of Europe, Franz-Josef Strauss—and his fellow csu member Baron Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg, bide their time in their roles as EU bureaucrats. Each would be patently aware that Germany’s political system is due for overhaul amid a time of escalating crisis in Europe. What better way to shake up federal politics in Germany than to launch a new right-wing political party?
But Germany followed that route eight decades ago, with disastrous results. Are we in for a rerun of that history? Time will tell … then again, there is Bible prophecy that tells it even more clearly!