New German leader talks crisis
Bonn — West German Chancellor Helmut Kohl, in his first major policy statement to Parliament, promised Wednesday that his center-right coalition would lead the country out of what he called the worst economic crisis in its 33-year history.
In a defense of the unseating of Helmut Schmidt's government, Mr. Kohl said the new coalition was necessary to prevent ''the rapid decline from becoming a crash.'' He said signs show the worst is still to come and the first positive effects of his government's economic program would not be felt before the second half of next year.
Chancellor Kohl defended the decision of the center-right parties not to call an immediate general election, as urged by Mr. Schmidt's Social Democratic Party , saying urgent action was needed that could not wait for a national vote. But he offered all-party talks on overcoming constitutional problems in the form of his plan to hold elections March 6, saying he stood by his determination to take the issues to the country then. Fresh elections are not due until 1984 unless the constitutional problems are overcome.
In a gloomy view of immediate trends, Mr. Kohl said unemployment could rise from 1.8 million, or 7.5 percent of the labor force, to 2.5 million this winter. He also said that national debts are rising fast and social security coffers are empty.
His government's emergency program has the following four objectives: to create jobs, to secure the social network, to practice a humane policy for immigrants, and to renew the bases of the nation's foreign and security policies , Mr. Kohl said.