After her conservatives got big donations from the family that controls BMW, while Berlin was lobbying against tougher EU limits on carbon emissions, German opposition parties accused Angela Merkel of siding with the car lobbyists.
The donations were coming from Johanna Quandt, the widow of industrialist Herbert Quandt who is widely considered as the man who turned BMW, and her two children Stefan Quandt and Susanne Klatten. The family controls around 47% of BMW.
The funds were received just days prior to European Union environment ministers backing the German demands to modify a plan to impose EU car emissions limits that Berlin had considered too costly on jobs and set to bring damage its premium automakers.
Merkel’s Christian Democrats (CDU) said the three donations made on October 9 and totalling 690,000 euros “have no connection to any political decisions”. A spokesman for the BMW family said they wanted since January to donate the money to the CDU but decided to postpone the move until October because they wanted to avoid being involved in the campaign for Germany’s September 22 election.
Social Democrat Joachim Poss said that that the elected time frame between the donation and Merkel’s backing for the car industry were “grist to the mill for all those critical of party donations.”