Erik's Feed
Jun 27, 2015

Germany’s Gabriel open to Greek referendum with caveats

BERLIN (Reuters) – German Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel said on Saturday that a proposal from the Greek government for a referendum on austerity demands should not be dismissed out of hand, though it was vital that voters had a clear deal on which to vote.

In an interview with Deutschlandfunk radio, Gabriel said such a referendum would only make sense if voters in Greece got the chance to cast their ballots on the European Union’s offer for aid linked to reforms.

Jun 24, 2015

British queen charms Europe’s ‘summit queen’ on eve of EU negotiation

BERLIN/BRUSSELS (Reuters) – On the eve of Britain’s bid to renegotiate its European Union membership, Queen Elizabeth charmed Germany’s Angela Merkel, Europe’s most powerful leader, who Prime Minister David Cameron hopes will help him strike an EU reform deal.

Cameron, who won an unexpectedly decisive victory in a national election last month, has promised to recast Britain’s relationship with the 28-member bloc and hold a referendum on membership by the end of 2017.

Jun 23, 2015

German bailout fatigue carries new risks for Merkel

BERLIN, June 23 (Reuters) – Wolfgang Bosbach is still an
outlier in the German parliament, one of the few members of
Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives who openly defies her
by speaking out against aid for Greece.

But he is far less isolated than he was back in 2011 when
Merkel’s former chief of staff Ronald Pofalla reprimanded him
for his defiance on euro zone bailouts with the stinging jibe:
“I can’t stand the sight of your stupid face.”

Jun 22, 2015

East German hard currency maestro Schalck-Golodkowski dies

BERLIN (Reuters) – The man who persuaded a Cold War conservative leader in West Germany to save Communist East Germany from insolvency has died in Bavaria, where he fled just after the Berlin Wall came down.

In 1983, Alexander Schalck-Golodkowski convinced Bavarian state premier Franz Josef Strauss, an ardent anti-communist and former Defense Minister, to lend his nearly bankrupt country a billion of West Germany’s marks, prized as an enviably hard currency.

Jun 19, 2015

‘Grexit’ better for Athens and Europe, says editor of Germany’s Bild

BERLIN (Reuters) – Greece should leave the euro zone to save its own economy and to spare the rest of the Europe Union a lot of time, trouble and money, the editor of Germany’s influential newspaper Bild said in an interview with Reuters on Friday.

Kai Diekmann’s daily is read by some 12 million and has, more than any other newspaper, shaped public opinion in Germany, the biggest European contributor to the bailout programmes that have kept Greece afloat for the past five years.

Jun 18, 2015

German TV host Raab, who once put Merkel on the spot, calls it a day

BERLIN (Reuters) – Television host Stefan Raab, who famously took Chancellor Angela Merkel to task in an election debate, is unexpectedly quitting after 16 years as one of Germany’s most popular media personalities.

“I’ve decided to hang my TV shoes up at the end of this year,” Raab said in his show on Wednesday night.

Jun 18, 2015

Tsipras says ‘blind insistence’ on pension cuts would worsen crisis

BERLIN (Reuters) – The “blind insistence” on cutting Greek pensions will only worsen the country’s already dire financial crisis, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras wrote in a German newspaper commentary on Thursday.

In a guest column for Der Tagesspiegel newspaper in Berlin, Tsipras also rejected the “myth” that German taxpayers are paying Greek pensions and wages. He said Greeks, contrary to the widespread belief in Germany, work longer than Germans.

Jun 16, 2015

Greek PM tears into lenders, euro zone prepares for ‘Grexit’

ATHENS/BERLIN (Reuters) – Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras lashed out at Greece’s creditors on Tuesday, accusing them of trying to “humiliate” Greeks, as he defied a drumbeat of warnings that Europe is preparing for his country to leave the euro.

The unrepentant address to lawmakers after the collapse of talks with European and IMF lenders at the weekend was the clearest sign yet that the leftist leader has no intention of making a last-minute U-turn and accepting austerity cuts needed to unlock frozen aid and avoid a debt default within two weeks.

Jun 15, 2015

Prepare for Greek ‘state of emergency’, says German EU commissioner

BERLIN, June 15 (Reuters) – The European Union needs to
start making plans for a “state of emergency” in Greece from
July 1 if Athens fails to reach an agreement with its creditors,
Germany’s EU Commissioner Guenther Oettinger said on Monday in

In remarks to reporters before a meeting of Chancellor
Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic party (CDU), Oettinger said
it was time to make concrete preparations for a crisis in Greece
if no deal is reached, Greece defaults and exits the euro zone.

Jun 15, 2015

Varoufakis rules out ‘Grexit’, deal possible if Merkel takes part

BERLIN, June 15 (Reuters) – Greece Finance Minister Yanis
Varoufakis said he could rule out a ‘Grexit’ because it would
not be a sensible solution to the Greek debt crisis and in a
German newspaper interview on Monday also said a debt
restructuring was the only way forward.

“I rule out a ‘Grexit’ as a sensible solution,” Varoufakis
told mass circulation Bild newspaper, referring to a possible
Greek exit from the euro zone. “But no one can rule out
everything. I can’t even rule out a comet hitting earth.”

    • About Erik

      "Erik Kirschbaum is based in Berlin. He has been covering politics, economics, entertainment and sport in Germany since 1989 from Frankfurt, Bonn and Berlin. He also has worked for Reuters in Vienna. Previously, he also worked for newspapers in Connecticut, Wisconsin and Nevada. He has also written two books."
    • Contact Erik

    • Follow Erik