Erik's Feed
Mar 27, 2015

Germany passes road toll; critics say unfairly targets foreigners

BERLIN (Reuters) – Germany’s parliament approved a motorway toll on Friday of up to 130 euros per year from 2016 that critics argue unfairly targets foreigners and may violate European Union laws.

A prolonged debate about the toll, which the center-left Social Democrats (SPD) had firmly rejected in the 2013 election campaign, exposed frictions in their grand coalition with Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives.

Mar 23, 2015

Greek PM Tsipras to visit Germany’s Holocaust memorial

BERLIN (Reuters) – Greece Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras will visit Germany’s Holocaust memorial on Tuesday on the second day of his visit to the country that his radical leftist government has demanded pay World War Two reparations, his office said on Monday.

The announcement of the visit to the Berlin memorial to Jews murdered by the Nazi regime, an unusual move for a foreign leader, came after Tsipras told a news conference with Chancellor Angela Merkel that his government’s call for reparations from Germany is mainly a moral demand.

Mar 23, 2015

Tsipras, Merkel display goodwill, little sign of debt progress

BERLIN (Reuters) – Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and German Chancellor Angela Merkel put on a public display of mutual goodwill on Monday, appealing to Greeks and Germans to set aside recrimination and national stereotypes and work for a better European future.

Yet despite warm words on the new leftist premier’s first official visit to Berlin, it was unclear if they had narrowed differences on economic reforms Greece must implement to win urgently needed fresh cash from its creditors. The two leaders were due to discuss the reforms in greater depth over dinner.

Mar 7, 2015

Germany downplays report of rift with NATO over Breedlove comments

BERLIN/RIGA (Reuters) – German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier downplayed a magazine report on Saturday of tensions with NATO over hawkish comments about Ukraine made by the Western alliance’s supreme allied commander.

Der Spiegel news magazine said an official in Chancellor Angela Merkel’s offices had complained of Air Force General Philip Breedlove’s “dangerous propaganda” over Ukraine and that Steinmeier had talked to the NATO General Secretary about him.

Mar 4, 2015

Ex-chancellor Schmidt stuns Germans admitting extra-marital affair

BERLIN, March 4 (Reuters) – Former West German Chancellor
Helmut Schmidt, a personification of probity for many Germans,
has admitted at the age of 96 that he had an extra-marital
affair many decades ago.

Schmidt, who ruled during a turbulent era from 1974 to 1982,
said in a new book that his wife Loki offered to step aside for
his mistress, but he turned down that option.

Mar 3, 2015

Flush with cash, Germany finds another 5 billion euros to spend

BERLIN (Reuters) – The German government, flush with cash after last year posting of its first budget surplus since 1969, said on Tuesday that it will boost investment spending by some 5 billion euros over the next three years on top of 10 billion previously announced.

Under pressure from its European Union partners and the United States to raise its public investment spending, the Finance Ministry said that it will give local communities some 3.5 billion euros over the next three years from a new fund of “special assets” along with an added 1.5 billion euros in 2017.

Feb 27, 2015

EU panel casts doubt on Germany’s proposed motorway toll

BERLIN, Feb 27 (Reuters) – A German plan to introduce a
motorway toll next year aimed at foreign drivers would violate
European Union laws, in the view of an EU Commission panel, a
German magazine reported on Friday.

The EU experts’ analysis found that the toll would
discriminate against foreign drivers because German motorists
would be compensated with a reduction in car taxes.

Feb 9, 2015

Greece’s Varoufakis becomes unlikely heartthrob in Germany

BERLIN (Reuters) – Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis has become an improbable heartthrob in Germany, where his demands to renegotiate the nation’s debt fell on deaf ears but his charm and masculine appearance have not gone unnoticed.

Germany’s ZDF public television even lampooned its own news anchor for enthusiastic comparing the minister with Hollywood tough guy Bruce Willis, while Stern magazine published a gushing article on Varoufakis’s “classical masculinity”.

Jan 31, 2015

Anti-euro German AfD party aims to end leadership dispute

BREMEN, Germany (Reuters) – The euroskeptic Alternative for Germany (AfD) party that has been siphoning votes from Angela Merkel’s conservatives voted narrowly on Saturday to support a demand by founder Bernd Lucke to stop making itself look foolish and choose a single leader.

Lucke’s proposal to change several AfD party rules – including eliminating two of the party’s three leaders by the end of 2015 – just barely cleared the two-thirds majority threshold with 1,001 of the 1,473 delegates voting in favour.

Jan 26, 2015

Rock concert, rallies overwhelm Germany’s anti-Islam group

BERLIN (Reuters) – Germany’s anti-Islam PEGIDA movement was overwhelmed by opponents of the far-right group at a rock concert for tolerance in Dresden on Monday and enormously popular counter-demonstrations in cities across the country.

More than 22,000 cheered German rock stars at an anti-PEGIDA rally in Dresden, where the movement that argues the country is being overrun by Muslims and refugees began in October. In Frankfurt 70 PEGIDA backers were outnumbered by 15,000.

    • 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."
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