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Should it be illegal to take your chauffered limo on vacation in another country?

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  • Should it be illegal to take your chauffered limo on vacation in another country?

    German Minister's Official Limo Stolen in Spain
    Published: Monday, 27 Jul 2009 | 8:27 AM ET

    By: Reuters

    Germany's Social Democrat (SPD) health minister came under pressure on Sunday to explain why she took her official limousine, complete with chauffeur, on holiday to Spain where the vehicle was stolen.

    Opposition politicians demanded Ulla Schmidt provide more details about the affair, which could damage the SPD who trail Merkel's conservatives by more than ten points in opinion polls in the run-up to a Sept. 27 federal election.

    The health ministry issued a statement on Sunday, saying an official car and driver were available to Schmidt, and all cabinet members, for business and private use at all times.

    "She used the official car several times both on official business and privately on her holiday in Spain this year," said the ministry in a statement.

    Thieves stole the keys from the chauffeur's accommodation near Alicante, a ministry spokeswoman had said on Saturday, adding Schmidt had used the Mercedes for official meetings to discuss healthcare with Germans who had retired to Spain.

    Otto Fricke, head of Germany's parliamentary budget committee, said he would summon her to answer questions.

    "I would like to know which of Mrs Schmidt's appointments required an official car and chauffeur in Alicante and why it was not possible for the embassy to arrange transportation," Fricke, an opposition Free Democrat, told Bild am Sonntag.

    Germany's Taxpayers' Association also attacked Schmidt.

    "We demand an explanation of why her official car had to be brought almost 5,000 kilometres (3,000 miles) across Europe. Taxpayers' money should not be wasted on the comfort of a minister," he told Bild am Sonntag.

    The ministry said in its statement the minister would reimburse the cost of private use, in accordance with the rules.

    Greens budget expert Alexander Bonde told the Saarbruecker Zeitung: "Why does the minister need an armored limousine in Spain? The budget committee will insist that just referring to official appointments is insufficient and implausible".

    Alicante, on Spain's Costa Brava, is a popular retirement and holiday destination for Germans.
    Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored. -- Aldous Huxley
    Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity. -- Albert Einstein

  • #2
    If your job in the govment requires and armored limo, then you need it everywhere.

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    • #3
      I guess my first question is, what do the rules/government policy/laws say?

      If an official car and driver are available to Schmidt and all cabinet members, for business and private use at all times as the public statement said, then I fail to see a problem.
      Going too far is half the pleasure of not getting anywhere

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      • #4
        Originally posted by L-1 View Post
        I guess my first question is, what do the rules/government policy/laws say?
        Although this may seem like quibbling, I was asking what the law should be, not what it is.
        Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored. -- Aldous Huxley
        Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity. -- Albert Einstein

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by DAL View Post
          Although this may seem like quibbling, I was asking what the law should be, not what it is.
          Aaah my apologies.

          OK, let's see. We live half way around the world from Germany, have no degree of responsibility towards the management of their governmental affairs and will not be affected by the outcome of this matter, yet we are being asked to chime in and suggest what the law should be governing benefit packages and/or security issues pertaining to their ministers.

          I think I will pass on this one.
          Going too far is half the pleasure of not getting anywhere

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by David Hineline
            If your job in the govment requires and armored limo, then you need it everywhere.
            I think that part of the issue is that her job doesn't require the armored limo. She's the German Health Minister, and that really doesn't sound like a dangerous position. I could be wrong of course.

            After all, she has a chauffeur, not a bodyguard.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Fëanor View Post
              I think that part of the issue is that her job doesn't require the armored limo. She's the German Health Minister, and that really doesn't sound like a dangerous position. I could be wrong of course.

              After all, she has a chauffeur, not a bodyguard.
              Yes, that is part of why I thought it rather odd. Another reason is that if she really is important enough to require an armored limousine, then the Spanish government likely would have provided security. Also, it's a long way from Berlin to Alicante -- 2400 km. Germany is facing a serious recession, too.
              Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored. -- Aldous Huxley
              Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity. -- Albert Einstein

              Comment

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