Erik's Feed
Nov 27, 2013

Merkel and SPD clinch coalition deal two months after vote

BERLIN (Reuters) – German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives and the center-left Social Democrats (SPD) reached a deal early on Wednesday on forming a “grand coalition” after wrangling through the night, meaning she should be able to form a government by Christmas.

Two months after Merkel’s landslide election victory and a month after negotiations began, Germany’s two biggest political forces clinched a deal at about 5 a.m. (0400 GMT) that both sides said they could live with.

Nov 26, 2013

Merkel, SPD narrow differences before final coalition push

BERLIN (Reuters) – Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives and the center-left Social Democrats (SPD) narrowed differences on several contentious policy issues on Tuesday as marathon talks to hammer out agreement on a “grand coalition” got underway.

The latest draft coalition deal showed the SPD had given into demands from Merkel’s Bavarian allies to introduce a motorway toll for foreign cars. However they extracted a pledge from the conservatives to end discrimination against homosexual couples in areas like adoption rights.

Nov 26, 2013

Merkel, SPD ready for all-night showdown on German coalition

BERLIN (Reuters) – Chancellor Angela Merkel and the leader of Germany’s Social Democrats (SPD) will meet late on Tuesday to try to hammer out a “grand coalition” agreement in a decisive round of negotiations expected to last until far beyond midnight.

The final scheduled round of talks between Merkel’s conservatives and the SPD begins at 7:30 p.m. (1830 GMT). They have a long list of unresolved issues to sort out that subordinates failed to agree on during a month of negotiations.

Nov 20, 2013

Nazi-looted art hoarder may get some works back, prosecutor says

BERLIN (Reuters) – A German prosecutor investigating a billion-dollar art hoard found in a Munich apartment called for some of the works to be returned to their reclusive owner while experts examine if others were stolen or extorted by the Nazis.

Reinhard Nemetz, state prosecutor in the Bavarian city of Augsburg, said late on Tuesday that pieces from the stash of more than 1,400 paintings and drawings that clearly belong to Cornelius Gurlitt should be given back as soon as possible.

Nov 19, 2013
via FaithWorld

German “luxury bishop” settles with court over 1st class flight-to-poverty case


(Bishop Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst makes his inaugural address during a service of worship in Limburg Cathedral January 20, 2008. REUTERS/Wolfgang Radtke/KNA-Bild)

A German court has dropped for the time being an investigation into a Roman Catholic prelate known as the “luxury bishop” over accusations he lied under oath about taking a first-class flight to visit poverty projects in India.

Nov 18, 2013

German parties agree to introduce quota for women on boards

BERLIN (Reuters) – Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives and the Social Democrats (SPD) agreed on Monday to introduce legislation requiring German companies to allot 30 percent of their non-executive board seats to women from 2016.

Negotiators from the two sides are in talks to form a coalition government. They said the agreement would involve listed companies and those with a works council.

Nov 12, 2013

Germany begins publishing works found in Nazi art stash

BERLIN/NEW YORK, Nov 12 (Reuters) – Germany began publishing
an online list on Tuesday of works that were discovered in a
huge art stash in a Munich flat last year and believed for the
most part to have been stolen or extorted by the Nazis.

The move was welcomed by lawyers representing families whose
looted art was feared lost forever. But heavy demand for the
government’s “Lost Art” website ( led to
technical problems that made it difficult to gain access.

Nov 12, 2013

Germany begins publishing list of works found in Nazi art stash

BERLIN (Reuters) – Germany was to start publishing an online list on Tuesday of works that were discovered in a huge art stash found in a Munich flat last year and believed for the most part to have been stolen or extorted by the Nazis.

A statement from the national and Bavarian regional governments said 25 of the works would initially be displayed on an existing website created to help establish the provenance of works seized by the Nazis, mostly from Jews during the persecution of the Holocaust.

Nov 10, 2013

Germany, under pressure, speeds investigation of Nazi-looted art

BERLIN (Reuters) – Germany, under pressure to hasten inquiries into Nazi-looted art works stashed in a recluse’s flat, has sent legal experts to help local authorities in Munich resolve myriad ownership issues, Focus magazine reported on Sunday.

The federal government’s intervention follows criticism that authorities stayed silent too long about 1,406 art works by European masters they stumbled upon last year.

Nov 9, 2013

Germany’s SPD demands tax on rich despite Merkel veto

BERLIN, Nov 9 (Reuters) – Germany’s centre-left Social
Democrats hope to reach a deal to raise taxes on the rich even
though Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives are opposed, an
SPD leader said on Saturday.

Merkel’s conservatives emerged from the Sept. 22 election as
the largest force but need a coalition partner. The SPD was at
first reluctant to join Merkel in a reprise of the “grand
coalition” that ruled from 2005-09 but coalition talks are now

    • 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