Erik's Feed
Oct 30, 2012

Rival to Germany’s Merkel hits back in speech fees row

BERLIN, Oct 30 (Reuters) – Chancellor Angela Merkel’s
designated challenger in next year’s federal election angrily
rejected accusations on Tuesday that he sold out to bankers with
lucrative speaking engagements and neglected his duties as a
member of parliament by moonlighting.

Former Finance Minister Peer Steinbrueck, who will lead the
centre-left Social Democrats (SPD) into the 2013 election, told
a national TV audience he had earned 1.25 million euros for 89
speeches since 2009 but said he donated some money to charity.

Oct 29, 2012

Germany’s fast-sinking Pirates could shipwreck Merkel

BERLIN (Reuters) – Germany’s Pirates, a party that came from nowhere to be a major political force, are suffering a dramatic reversal of fortune that could harm Chancellor Angela Merkel’s 2013 re-election chances.

After surging ahead of the Free Democrats (FDP), Left Party and Greens to become Germany’s third strongest party, polling 13 percent in April, the Pirates have fallen back to 4 percent.

Oct 28, 2012

Close race makes up for waning zeal in US expat vote

BERLIN, Oct 28 (Reuters) – With the U.S. presidential
election too close to call, hundreds of thousands of Americans
living in Europe have been posting their absentee ballots with a
sense that they could truly make a difference on Nov. 6.

From Berlin to Paris and London to Madrid, they have closely
tracked the battle between Democrat President Barack Obama and
Republican challenger Mitt Romney, though the emotional
temperature is several degrees lower than four years ago, when
most expats rallied behind Obama after two terms of George W.
Bush, whom many thought had tarnished the U.S. image abroad.

Oct 26, 2012

Merkel’s conservatives reach three-year high in key opinion poll

BERLIN (Reuters) – Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives climbed to their highest level in more than three years in a leading opinion poll published on Friday, but the results pointed to no outright winner emerging from next September’s election.

The closely watched Politbarometer for ZDF TV indicated neither Merkel’s center-right coalition nor a center-left alliance would be able to win a majority.

Oct 18, 2012

Springer CEO says “free beer” era for internet ending

BERLIN (Reuters) – Germany’s largest newspaper publisher will introduce a paywall for its flagship national daily Die Welt by the end of this year and is confident competitors will follow suit, Axel Springer Chief Executive Mathias Doepfner said.

In an interview with Reuters, Doepfner said he believes the ruinous “free beer for everyone” era of giving content away on the internet may be ending, as paying users are not only proving more valuable for publishers, but crucially for advertisers too.

Oct 16, 2012

Soccer-Coach Hamren baffled by Sweden’s four-goal comeback

BERLIN, Oct 16 (Reuters) – Sweden coach Erik Hamren was left bemused after his team staged an extraordinary recovery to come back from 4-0 down and earn a 4-4 draw with Germany in World Cup Group C qualifying on Tuesday.

“I’ve never heard of anything like this in an international game,” Hamren told a news conference after Sweden struck with four goals in the last 31 minutes at the Olympic Stadium.

Oct 16, 2012

Soccer-Sweden rally from 4-0 down to draw in Germany thriller

BERLIN, Oct 16 (Reuters) – Germany surrendered their 100 percent World Cup Group C qualifying record in stunning fashion after Sweden roared back from four goals down to draw 4-4 in a thriller at the Olympic Stadium on Tuesday.

Miroslav Klose struck twice in the opening 15 minutes before defender Per Mertesacker made it 3-0 in a game watched by German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Sweden’s Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt.

Oct 16, 2012

Merkel urges tax cuts to boost German growth

BERLIN (Reuters) – Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Tuesday Germany needs to stimulate domestic economic demand and urged opposition parties to stop blocking proposed tax cuts in the upper house of parliament.

Merkel told business leaders Germany should end the automatic progression of workers into ever higher tax brackets due to inflation, which siphons more than 20 billion euros out of the economy each year. She also renewed her calls for cuts in pension contributions as another way to boost purchasing power.

Oct 15, 2012

Merkel defends cabinet ally against plagiarism charges

BERLIN (Reuters) – Chancellor Angela Merkel gave guarded support on Monday to a close cabinet ally facing calls to resign over allegations of plagiarism, charges that are similar to accusations that brought down her defense minister and heir-apparent last year.

Merkel said she had confidence in Education Minister Annette Schavan after Der Spiegel magazine reported that a University of Duesseldorf examination of her 1980 doctoral thesis concluded parts were plagiarized and recommended taking away her PhD.

Oct 11, 2012

Hungary’s Orban says crisis may overstretch Europe’s democracies

BERLIN (Reuters) – Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban said Europe’s democracies might not be up to coping with the crisis they face, making the case in an interview for the “presidential” form of leadership that has let him drive through tough reforms at home.

A fiercely independent leader whose economic and social policies have drawn protests from foreign investors, governments and international bodies, Orban told German business daily Handelsblatt he was “a passionate supporter of democracy”.

    • 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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