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Scholz (at the meeting with Malta's head of government Abela): "A certain parallelism with this honourable trade of the plumber"

Photo: Clemens Bilan / EPO

After Friedrich Merz, leader of the CDU/CSU parliamentary group, mocked him as a "plumber of power," Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) praised the advantages of this craft: "Plumbers get down to business and are indispensable," Scholz wrote on Tuesday in the online network X, adding: "I am a great supporter of our craftsmen."

After his government statement, Merz had called Scholz a "plumber of power" to the applause of his parliamentary group, thus denying him his suitability to be chancellor. Scholz lacks a vision for the future of the country, Merz said, accusing the chancellor of only having technical answers to a highly political decision in the budget crisis. According to Scholz's government statement, only one conclusion is possible: "They can't do it."

Scholz had already taken the designation chosen by Merz as a compliment at a press conference after a meeting with Malta's head of government Robert Abela: He was "proud of this praise," said the chancellor. You have to have done things for a very long time to do them well – even in government. "And that's where I think I have a certain parallelism with this honorable craft of plumbing," says Scholz.

The SPD party executive also reacted to the Merz comparison. "Plumber of power? We love it!" read the party leadership's X account. Thank you for that compliment, Mr. Merz." After all, plumbers deserve just as much respect as chancellors. "Whether it's gas, water, shit or any other crisis situation – we're not above tackling things when things get stuck," the SPD stressed. She replaces the word shit with an emoji in her post.

Agriculture Minister Cem Özdemir (Greens) asked after the Merz comparison: "Does he mean that in a negative way?" After all, plumbers are creators. "They solve problems, they don't just stand by while others work."