Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

AFRICA NEWS

Search of Air Algerie crash site continues

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Sarkozy, Hollande and the scooter wars

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Confusion online over Air Algérie flight

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - July 25th, 2014 (part 2)

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - July 25th, 2014

Read more

REPORTERS

Halal tourism on the rise

Read more

ENCORE!

Tunisia's Carthage International Festival turns 50

Read more

FRANCE IN FOCUS

WWI Centenary: the battle for Verdun

Read more

THE BUSINESS INTERVIEW

When big companies want to do good

Read more

  • In pictures: Debris and devastation at Air Algérie Flight AH5017 crash scene

    Read more

  • Kerry heads to Paris for new round of Gaza peace talks

    Read more

  • ‘No survivors’ from Algerian plane crash, says Hollande

    Read more

  • Paris bans new Gaza protest scheduled for Saturday

    Read more

  • Tour de France fans bring the ambience to the Pyrenees

    Read more

  • French families grieve for Algerian plane crash victims

    Read more

  • Protest against Gaza offensive turns deadly in West Bank

    Read more

  • Halal tourism on the rise

    Read more

  • LA Times wipes France off the map in air crash infographic

    Read more

  • Lithuania’s Navardauskas wins 19th stage of Tour de France

    Read more

  • French lawyer files complaint against Israel at ICC

    Read more

  • Ukraine names acting PM after Yatseniuk's shock resignation

    Read more

  • BNP to pay $80 million for defrauding Dept of Agriculture

    Read more

  • Deadly strike on UN shelter in Gaza Strip

    Read more

  • Pope meets Christian woman sentenced to death in Sudan

    Read more

Europe

Leading banker accused of racism agrees to resign

Video by FRANCE 24

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2010-09-10

Thilo Sarrazin, a board member of Germany’s central Bundesbank embroiled in controversy after he made disparaging remarks about Muslims and Jews in a book, has agreed to resign, sparing the government of having to decide whether to dismiss him.

REUTERS - Over the past year, Thilo Sarrazin has upset Jews, Muslims, the poor and all of Germany's main political parties -- and become a bestselling author backed by broad swathes of the German public.

Sarrazin said he would quit the Bundesbank's board from the end of September after his divisive remarks on race, religion, and immigration earned him censure from Chancellor Angela Merkel and prompted the central bank to seek his dismissal.
 
His resignation, announced on Thursday, means President Christian Wulff no longer has to decide whether to approve the Bundesbank's request, an awkward task that threatened to expose Merkel to a backlash from conservative voters. Sarrazin, a former finance minister of the city of Berlin had long been outspoken, but recent claims that Jews shared a particular gene and Muslim immigrants were lowering the intelligence quotient of German society proved a tipping point.
 
Uproar over his contentious musings culminated last week with the publication of the banker's new book "Deutschland schafft sich ab" (Germany does away with itself), and Sarrazin is now under police protection following threats to his life.
 
Sarrazin's centre-left Social Democrats (SPD) have also begun proceedings to expel him, though the 65-year-old has said he aims to "go to his grave" a member of the SPD. Polls show the party has been hurt by the debate over whether to eject him.
 
Having inflamed opinion in 2009 with disparaging remarks about Germany's large Muslim population, Sarrazin's book makes a number of claims that have been seized on by far-right parties as a vindication of their own policies.
 
In 2009, Sarrazin -- who has been compared to Geert Wilders, the head of the Netherlands' anti-immigration Freedom Party -- was stripped of some of his duties at the Bundesbank after comments in a magazine interview:
 
"I don't need to accept anyone who lives off the state, rejects this country ... and is always producing little girls with headscarves. This is true of 70 percent of the Turkish and 90 percent of the Arab population of Berlin," he said then.
 
Right-wing online forums have hailed Sarrazin as a champion of free speech who is addressing painful truths. One featured an image of the former rail executive that parodied U.S. President Barack Obama's 2008 "Hope" election campaign poster.
 
But many advocates of improving integration say Sarrazin has made it harder to hold objective debate on the matter by polarising opinion and obscuring the facts with disputed claims.
 
"Rambo"
 
Polls have showed Germans are divided about Sarrazin's views, though many phone-ins came out strongly in his favour.
 
His 464-page book, which has become a bestseller, argues in part that Muslims undermine German society, sponge off the state and may swamp the country due to a higher birth rate.
 
While in the capital, Sarrazin won praise for cutting the city's huge budget deficit, racking up the first budget surplus in its postwar history in 2007.
 
However, a talent for stirring up controversy -- including his suggestion in 2008 that the poor could wear sweaters if their heating bills got too dear -- meant many in the SPD were glad to nominate him for a move to the Bundesbank in 2009.
 
Prominent figures were not spared his scorn.
 
In 2007, Sarrazin called ex-SPD chief Oskar Lafontaine an "arsehole" on television. Prominent German Jewish journalist Michel Friedman described having the same experience last week.
 
Sarrazin, a civil servant since 1975 whom the German press once nicknamed "Rambo" for his no-holds-barred approach to politics, alienated many of his former allies after departing Berlin for the Bundesbank in May 2009.

Date created : 2010-09-09

  • GERMANY

    Central banker’s controversial book sparks race storm in Germany

    Read more

COMMENT(S)