Erik's Feed
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.

Jan 26, 2015

Merkel says Germans must fight anti-Semitism and racism

BERLIN, Jan 26 (Reuters) – On the eve of Tuesday’s 70th
anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi death camp at
Auschwitz, Chancellor Angela Merkel said Germans had an
everlasting responsibility to fight all forms of anti-Semitism
and racism.

In what appeared to be an indirect reference to the
grass-roots PEGIDA movement, which argues that Germany is being
overrun by Muslims and refugees, Merkel told a memorial for the
victims of Auschwitz: “We’ve got to fight anti-Semitism and all
racism from the outset.”

Jan 25, 2015

Bundesbank’s Weidmann casts doubt on effectiveness of ECB’s QE

BERLIN (Reuters) – Bundesbank President Jens Weidmann, an unabashed critic of the European Central Bank’s quantitative easing (QE), told a German newspaper on Sunday he had doubts about the effectiveness of the ECB bond-buying plan.

Weidmann, who is on the ECB’s Governing Council, told Welt am Sonntag newspaper that he voted against the move and said the sluggish growth in Europe was largely due to high levels of debt and a lack of competitiveness in some individual countries.

Jan 22, 2015

Wary Germans warn ECB cash machine won’t get Europe on its feet

BERLIN (Reuters) – The ECB’s plan to pump cash into the euro zone met with dismay in Europe’s biggest economy, with many Germans worried they will bankroll measures that remove incentives for struggling member states to carry out the reforms prescribed by Angela Merkel.

The chancellor, paying lip service to the independence of the European Central Bank, reiterated her usual comment that the ECB’s bond-buying program “should not obscure” the need for structural reforms driven by member states’ politicians.

Jan 18, 2015

Insight – German eurosceptic party at crossroads before key election

HAMBURG, Germany (Reuters) – Sounding more like the economics professor he once was than the dangerous far-right firebrand some say he has become, Bernd Lucke spoke at length about the perils of the euro zone and unfettered immigration at a campaign rally last week.

Some 400 conservative, grey-haired men had gathered in a basement of a Hamburg skyscraper on a stormy night to hear the Alternative for Germany (AfD) party founder, a 52-year-old father of five.

    • 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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