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Germany

Fischer Sticks to Schröder

Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer said his Green party is willing to continue working with Social Democratic Chancellor Gerhard Schröder despite Schröder's plan to campaign without his coalition partner ahead of early elections. The coalition between Social Democrats and Greens that has been in power since 1998 is "a relationship that has not always been easy, but which has been very intense, with a great deal of agreement on numerous questions," Fischer said in an interview in Monday's Süddeutsche Zeitung. But the relations between the coalition partners have been strained by Schröder's unilateral decision to call early elections following a crushing regional electoral defeat last Sunday, and by the chancellor's subsequent announcement that he would campaign alone, without help from the Greens. The tension grew after government spokesman Bela Anda Friday blamed the Greens for the failure of the reform of company tax policy that had been agreed by the coalition.

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