<p>Chancellor Schroder</p>

Courtesy of the German Federal Gov't.

The latest attempt by German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder's government to win approval for a $2.56 billion (US) plan to create a system of elite universities in Germany has failed after opposition from at least one state government.

The university plan, which would attempt to create competitors to Harvard, Stanford, and Oxford, was first announced in January 2004 by Federal Research Minister Edelgard Bulmahn. But the plan has been derailed several times by state governments controlled by the CDU/CSU coalition party, the main opposition to Schröder's SPD party.

Federal Research Ministry spokesman Florian Frank says the latest failure to win approval was due to politic maneuvering by the CDU/CSU. "They are blocking the plan as a tactical maneuver," he says.

Germany's scientific and education communities have generally voiced strong support for the proposed plan, under which up to 10 universities would be selected...

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