Chief Correspondent, Germany
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Jan 6, 2014

Merkel breaks pelvis as her new German coalition bickers

BERLIN, Jan 6 (Reuters) – German Chancellor Angela Merkel
has broken her pelvis in a cross-country skiing accident,
forcing her to call off some foreign visits and official
appointments just when she needs to bed down her fractious new
coalition government.

Merkel, 59, is using crutches after her accident in
Switzerland over the Christmas holidays and will have to take it
easy for the next three weeks, her spokesman said on Monday.

Dec 15, 2013

Wary of Roma, Europe cold-shoulders its new eastern workmates

BERLIN/BUCHAREST, Dec 15 (Reuters) – Mitko keeps a tidy
squat, a tartan blanket on the bed and his clothes stowed away.
Lit by candles, heated by a gas canister and padlocked when he
is out, it is the 39-year-old Roma’s haven inside an old
graffiti-covered ice factory in Berlin.

For many European Union politicians, Mitko and his
neighbours in the squalid Eisfabrik are a warning of what will
happen next year when Romania and Bulgaria get full access to
the job market – and welfare systems – of Europe.

Nov 28, 2013

SPD tries to overcome grassroots scepticism on Merkel deal

BERLIN (Reuters) – Germany’s Social Democrats began a do-or-die campaign on Thursday to persuade nearly half a million grassroots members, many skeptical about governing with conservative Angela Merkel again, to back the “grand coalition” in a ballot.

Germany has already waited two months since the election for a new government. After Merkel and the SPD finally agreed the terms of an alliance, it must now wait until mid-December while the SPD seeks endorsement in an unprecedented ballot.

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 21, 2013

ECB’s Draghi: no news on negative deposit rate

BERLIN (Reuters) – The European Central Bank has nothing new to say about instituting negative deposit rates, ECB President Mario Draghi said on Thursday, after a media report that the central bank was actively considering the move.

“Let me plead with you — don’t try to infer from what I say today anything on the possibility of negative rates on the deposit facility,” Draghi said in a speech at an event organized by German newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung.

Nov 21, 2013

Merkel defends German surplus against international criticism

BERLIN, Nov 21 (Reuters) – Chancellor Angela Merkel on
Thursday defended Germany against international criticism that
it was not doing enough to reduce its high trade surpluses and
rejected the idea that it should deliberately weaken its

Speaking in Berlin, Merkel said it was “absurd” to suggest
German companies should reduce their quality or that wages in
the export sector should be higher to weaken their competitive

Nov 17, 2013

Merkel and SPD coalition talks enter final make-or-break phase

BERLIN (Reuters) – Angela Merkel’s conservatives and Germany’s Social Democrats have forged a political marriage before and know each other’s ways, but as a new “big day” approaches, they are having to work hard to convince skeptical party members and the business world that they should give it another go.

Merkel’s Christian Democrats (CDU) and Bavarian allies were the clear winners in September’s election, taking 41.5 percent of the vote, but their former liberal partners in government lost all their seats, so the center-right still needs to form a coalition with the humiliated center-left.

Nov 17, 2013

German art hoarder denies paintings stolen, wants them back

BERLIN (Reuters) – The German recluse whose billion-dollar art hoard was seized by authorities has broken his silence to ask for the pictures back and to deny his father, an art dealer for Hitler, ever extorted any from Jewish owners.

In an interview with Der Spiegel, his first substantive comments since the mysterious trove was revealed two weeks ago, 80-year-old Cornelius Gurlitt recalled helping his father save some of the works from wartime Dresden and said the state had no right to impound treasures he called the love of his life.

Nov 15, 2013

Sense of dread as German SPD eyes new Merkel coalition

LEIPZIG, Germany, Nov 15 (Reuters) – If you want to know how
rank-and-file Social Democrats (SPD) regard the prospect of
another ‘grand coalition’ government under Chancellor Angela
Merkel, look for the red hedgehog.

Listening to speeches at a party congress in Leipzig from a
stand emblazoned with their cute logo, four members of the “Over
60s Working Club” from the northern town of Schortens summed up
grassroots sentiment in one word: scepticism.

Nov 14, 2013

Letta tells Germans that ‘lazy Italians’ cliche helps populists

LEIPZIG, Germany (Reuters) – Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta warned on a visit to Germany on Thursday that stereotyping his compatriots as “lazy” or Germans as “selfish” would boost support for populists in next year’s European Parliament vote.

If the two countries are not careful, Letta told the party congress of Germany’s Social Democrats (SPD), “the campaign for the European election risks being full of reciprocal prejudices – the ‘selfish Germans’ against the ‘lazy, idle Italians’”.

    • 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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