Germany’s Merkel slams own minister for vote on weed killer

November 28, 2017

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, front right, and German Minister of Food and Agriculture, Christian Schmidt, front left, talk as they arrive the 2nd summit on air pollution in German cities of the government and the mayors of various German cities in Berlin, Germany, Tuesday, Nov. 28, 2017. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn)

BERLIN (AP) — Chancellor Angela Merkel is criticizing her agriculture minister’s unilateral decision to cast Germany’s vote in favor of extending the use of the weed killer glyphosate at the European level, which complicates her domestic political situation.

Merkel said Tuesday that Germany should have abstained from the EU vote Monday, and that Christian Schmidt’s move did “not reflect the direction given by the government” and “is something that cannot be repeated.”

The extension was opposed by Social Democrats in Merkel’s caretaker government. Schmidt’s decision, which he said he reached on his own, complicates the chancellor’s already challenging task of forging a new coalition with the center-left party going forward.

Schmidt is a member of her conservative bloc’s Bavaria-only Christian Social Union, whose support Merkel also needs, making possible disciplinary action more difficult.

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