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Feb 12, 2012

Time for German wages to really rise, minister says

BERLIN, Feb 12 (Reuters) – German wages should be
raised by more than 2 percent this year, Labour Minister Ursula
von der Leyen said in an unusual appeal to employers on Sunday
that was quickly criticised by leaders of her own ruling
coalition.

Von der Leyen, sometimes mentioned as a candidate to succeed
Chancellor Angela Merkel, told Bild am Sonntag newspaper that
workers in Germany deserved a pay raise above the inflation
rate, currently 2.1 percent, after years of settling for less.

Feb 12, 2012

Schaeuble warns Greek promises no longer suffice

BERLIN, Feb 12 (Reuters) – Greek promises on austerity
measures are no longer good enough because so many vows have
been broken and the country that has been a “bottomless pit” has
to dramtically change its ways, German Finance Minister Wolfgang
Schaeuble said.

In a hard-hitting interview with the Welt am Sonntag
newspaper, Schaeuble also said it is up to Greece whether the
country can stay in the euro zone as part of its efforts to
restore its competitiveness.

Feb 11, 2012

Protests erupt across Europe against web piracy treaty

BERLIN/SOFIA (Reuters) – Tens of thousands of protesters took part in rallies across Europe on Saturday against an international anti-piracy agreement they fear will curb their freedom to download movies and music for free and encourage Internet surveillance.

More than 25,000 demonstrators braved freezing temperatures in German cities to march against the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) while 4,000 Bulgarians in Sofia rallied against the agreement designed to strengthen the legal framework for intellectual property rights.

Feb 11, 2012

Communist East Germany back in haunting new film

BERLIN (Reuters) – The oppressive world of Communist East Germany was brought back to life in a haunting new film called “Barbara” at the Berlin Film Festival on Saturday, the first of three German productions in the main competition.

A fictional tale of a young doctor banished to the East German provinces because she requested to move to West Germany, the film set in 1980 is a sedate portrait of the Communist country nine years before it imploded when the Berlin Wall fell.

Feb 7, 2012

Germans question wisdom of Merkel backing Sarkozy

BERLIN (Reuters) – Chancellor Angela Merkel was criticized in Germany on Tuesday for her outspoken support for Nicolas Sarkozy in the French presidential election campaign, raising worries her intervention could harm German interests.

Joining Sarkozy in two TV appearances in Paris that were also broadcast in Germany on Monday, the chancellor said it was “perfectly natural” to support fellow conservative Sarkozy in what is likely to become his uphill battle to be re-elected.

Feb 1, 2012

Falling solar prices good for climate, bad for firms

BERLIN (Reuters) – There is a bright side to the plunge in solar panel prices that has brought down some U.S. and German manufacturers which relied too heavily on subsidies for green energy – solar power costs have fallen faster than anyone thought possible.

The falls in prices for photovoltaic components, pushed down by economies of scale and fierce competition from China, have made solar nearly as cheap as conventional sources in Germany’s electricity grid.

Jan 29, 2012

Greece should give up budget control: Germany

BERLIN (Reuters) – Greece must surrender control of its budget policy to outside institutions if it cannot implement reforms attached to euro zone rescue measures, the German economy minister was quoted as saying on Sunday.

Philipp Roesler became the first German cabinet member to openly endorse a proposal for Greece to surrender budget control after Reuters quoted a European source on Friday as saying Berlin wants Athens to give up budget control.

Jan 29, 2012

Merkel deflects pressure to boost euro bailout funds

BERLIN, Jan 29 (Reuters) – Chancellor Angela Merkel
tried to deflect growing international pressure on Germany to
agree an increase in the euro zone’s bailout funds on Sunday by
saying talks were still continuing.

Amid calls to raise the size of the permanent European
Stability Mechanism (ESM) ahead of an EU summit on Monday,
Merkel was asked by Bild am Sonntag newspaper about “rising
pressure” on Germany to “massively increase” the bailout fund.

Jan 23, 2012

Germany mesmerized by president’s fall from grace

BERLIN (Reuters) – Scandals over money, power and political favors surrounding Germany’s head of state are turning him into an object of derision and could harm Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives in two elections this year.

President Christian Wulff, installed by Merkel in the largely ceremonial office in 2010, has brushed off calls to resign over some of the affairs state prosecutors are now investigating. But opinion polls suggest most Germans want him removed.

Jan 17, 2012

Germany’s Greens open to new coalition options

BERLIN, Jan 17 (Reuters) – Germany’s Greens said on
Tuesday they planned to run independently in next year’s
election, but were open to new coalition options with Chancellor
Angela Merkel’s conservatives who will likely remain the
strongest party.

Cem Oezdemir, co-chairman of Germany’s third largest party
with about 16 percent backing in recent opinion polls, said that
their centre-left allies the Social Democrats (SPD) would
probably not win enough to form a SPD-Greens coalition.

    • 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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