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May 18, 2015

Open-ended strike to bring German trains to a halt again this week

BERLIN, May 18 (Reuters) – German train drivers announced on
Monday their ninth strike in an ongoing dispute with rail
operator Deutsche Bahn, which will bring freight trains to a
standstill from Tuesday and passenger trains on Wednesday – with
no date given for the strike to end.

The GDL union said it will announce the end of the strike
with 48 hours’ notice, raising the prospect of even longer
disruption than a seven-day strike earlier this month, which was
already the longest in the history of Deutsche Bahn.

May 6, 2015

Germany uncovers right-wing cell as arsonists hit refugee shelter

BERLIN (Reuters) – German police detained four people suspected of setting up a right-wing extremist group that was planning bomb attacks on Muslims and refugees, as a separate investigation began into arsonists who damaged a shelter for asylum-seekers.

The developments underline concern about increasing hostility toward rising immigration in Germany, which last year saw the emergence of grassroots anti-Islam group PEGIDA (Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamisation of the West).

Apr 16, 2015

Germany should cut taxes, economic institutes say

BERLIN, April 16 (Reuters) – Germany should use its strong
fiscal position to lower taxes, leading German, Swiss and
Austrian economic institutes said on Thursday in a report
commissioned by the German government.

The German government balanced its budget in 2014, a year
ahead of schedule, and the institutes forecast that Berlin would
achieve public budget surpluses of more than 20 billion euros
this year and next.

Apr 13, 2015

Germany’s Guenter Grass, author of ‘The Tin Drum,’ dies at 87

BERLIN (Reuters) – German novelist Guenter Grass, the Nobel Prize-winning author of “The Tin Drum”, an epic treatment of the Nazi era, died on Monday at the age of 87, his publishers said.

A broad-shouldered man with a drooping mustache, Grass spurned the German tradition of keeping a cool intellectual distance, insisting that a writer’s duty was to be at the frontline of moral and political debate.

Mar 23, 2015

In skeptical Berlin, Merkel to hear Greek PM’s reform plans in person

BERLIN/ATHENS (Reuters) – Germany’s Angela Merkel does not expect talks on Monday with Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras to resolve his differences with the euro zone over Greece’s bailout but she does want to hear from him in person about his reform plans, an aide said.

The German chancellor and Greek leader have played down expectations that he would use his first official visit to Berlin to present a brand new list of reform proposals which he promised European Union leaders at a summit last week.

Mar 22, 2015

Greek leader to face scepticism, criticism on first Berlin visit

BERLIN (Reuters) – Angela Merkel and Alexis Tsipras have sought to play down the drama of the Greek leader’s first official visit to Berlin on Monday, but open scepticism among the Chancellor’s allies has spawned media portrayals of a western-style showdown.

Unsurprisingly perhaps, German media have cast Greece’s leftist prime minister as the outlaw and the conservative German Chancellor as a sheriff fighting to keep the euro zone together.

Mar 19, 2015

Greek finance minister, taken in by German satire, seeks apology

BERLIN (Reuters) – Greece’s finance minister appeared on Thursday to have fallen for an elaborate hoax that spurred him to demand an apology from German TV show over a video of him making a rude gesture.

Yanis Varoufakis, a political lightning rod in Germany because of his bitter dispute with his German counterpart over bailout conditions for Greece, acted after a rival German television channel said that the video had been faked.

Mar 19, 2015

EU to tell Greece time, patience running out

BRUSSELS/BERLIN (Reuters) – Euro zone leaders will tell Greece on Thursday that time and patience are running out for its leftist-led government to implement agreed reforms to avert a looming cash crunch that could force it out of the single currency.

Greece has been kept from bankruptcy by two international bailouts but now risks running out of money within weeks if it does not receive more funds. Greek banks reported the largest deposit withdrawals since Feb. 20, a sign savers are worried about the outlook for the country’s finances and institutions.

Mar 18, 2015

U.S. wants Assad out, Germany says talks with him may be necessary

ISTANBUL/BERLIN (Reuters) – The United States still wants a negotiated political settlement in Syria that excludes President Bashar al-Assad, according to a senior U.S. envoy, but Washington’s close ally Germany said talks with the Damascus government might still be necessary.

As German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier hosted talks of the coalition against Islamic State on Wednesday which included the U.S. special envoy John Allen, the pair appeared to contradict each other on how to handle Assad’s government.

Mar 16, 2015

Did Greek minister Varoufakis show Germany the “Stinkefinger”?

BERLIN, March 16 (Reuters) – Greek Finance Minister Yanis
Varoufakis tangled yet again with Berlin on Monday after German
television aired a 2013 video purportedly showing him making a
rude gesture toward Europe’s economic powerhouse.

Varoufakis denied brandishing his middle finger – known in
Germany as the “Stinkefinger” – during a lecture in Croatia
where he said Greece should have defaulted in 2010 rather than
accept a multi-billion euro bailout package.

    • About Stephen

      "I moved to Berlin to run our German political, economic and general news file in 2010 after nearly four years as chief correspondent in Rome covering Berlusconi, the L'Aquila earthquake, G8 summit and Vatican. I was Nordic and Baltic bureau chief for 3-1/2 years and bureau chief of southern Latin America, based in Buenos Aires, for eight years including the Argentine collapse in 2001/2002. My first assignments for Reuters were in Spain, Portugal and our HQ in London. Before Reuters I worked for the Financial Times Group."
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