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Dec 3, 2012

Merkel’s euro push leaves east Germany out in the cold

EISENHUETTENSTADT, Germany (Reuters) – This fading industrial city, like many in Angela Merkel’s former East German home, is stony ground for the chancellor’s message of European integration and fertile soil for opponents trying to stop her winning a third term next September.

More than two decades after unification, income and jobs in the five eastern states, home to 15 percent of the population, still lag behind the west and trillions of euros in transfers have not stemmed an exodus that has left some areas looking like ghost towns.

Nov 30, 2012

German lawmakers approve Greek bailout despite qualms

BERLIN (Reuters) – German lawmakers approved the latest bailout for Greece on Friday by a large majority despite growing unease about the cost to taxpayers less than a year before federal elections.

The outcome of the vote in the lower house was never in doubt but it was a test of Angela Merkel’s authority over her centre-right coalition. She did not manage to draw an absolute majority from her own ranks after 23 of her lawmakers rebelled.

Nov 30, 2012

Germany’s Schaeuble urges MPs to back Greek bailout despite unease

BERLIN (Reuters) – Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble urged German lawmakers on Friday to approve the latest bailout for Greece despite their growing unease about the cost to taxpayers less than a year before federal elections.

Schaeuble praised the new Greek government’s commitment to tough austerity measures but said speculation – including among German politicians – that Athens’s international creditors will eventually have to write off debt could derail the reform drive.

Nov 27, 2012

Germany will back Greek aid but wary of hints at haircut

BERLIN (Reuters) – German lawmakers are likely to approve the release of Greek aid immediately despite suspicions that talks of a debt write-down have just been delayed until after Germany’s 2013 elections.

Chancellor Angela Merkel’s center-right coalition and the opposition Social Democrats (SPD) said on Tuesday that the Greek deal agreed overnight would be put to the vote in the Bundestag lower house on Thursday or Friday.

Nov 19, 2012

German minister backs EU proposal to squeeze carbon market

BERLIN (Reuters) – Germany’s environment minister has come out in support of a European Commission proposal to prevent the collapse of its instrument for cutting carbon emissions by withdrawing some emission permits from the market.

Peter Altmaier, an influential figure in Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats (CDU), told Reuters he hoped the ruling centre-right coalition could agree to support it in time for a European Union summit in December.

Nov 16, 2012

IKEA apologises for use of East German prison labour

BERLIN, Nov 16 (Reuters) – IKEA apologised on Friday for
using the forced labour of political prisoners in communist East
Germany to make some of its furniture during the 1980s.

Victims of the German Democratic Republic’s (GDR) Stasi
secret police watched as a senior executive of the Swedish giant
acknowledged for the first time that it had failed to act when
rumours of prison labour emerged.

Nov 15, 2012

France’s German-speaking PM tries to reassure Berlin

BERLIN, Nov 15 (Reuters) – France’s German-speaking prime
minister offered a worried Berlin reassurances on Thursday that
his government would reduce the deficit and prevent France from
becoming the next victim of the euro crisis by applying a new
economic model.

Jean-Marc Ayrault, making his first visit to Berlin since
Francois Hollande became president, told Chancellor Angela
Merkel that France would find its own way to reduce spending and
boost economic growth and jobs, rather than copying Germany.

Nov 15, 2012

France’s German-speaking PM tries to restore Berlin’s faith

BERLIN (Reuters) – France’s German-speaking prime minister tried to reassure his worried hosts in Berlin on Thursday that his Socialist government was serious about reducing the deficit and preventing France from becoming the next victim of the euro crisis.

Jean-Marc Ayrault, making his first visit to Berlin since Francois Hollande became French president, started by meeting German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble, who is reported to have fundamental doubts about France’s reform zeal.

Nov 2, 2012

Merkel seeks coalition unity for 2013 election challenges

BERLIN (Reuters) – German Chancellor Angela Merkel is under pressure to resolve a dispute on taxes and welfare between her centre-right coalition partners this weekend in order to present a united front before elections in 2013.

The challenge for Merkel’s conservatives and their junior Free Democrat (FDP) partners is to ensure that any compromise on rival welfare proposals does not threaten the government’s ambitious goal of balancing the budget by 2014.

Nov 1, 2012

Merkel says veto threats don’t help EU budget debate

BERLIN (Reuters) – German Chancellor Angela Merkel issued a veiled reprimand on Thursday to Britain and France for threatening to veto a deal on the European Union’s long-term budget, saying such talk did not help the tense negotiations.

Merkel said it was normal in politics to “stake out terrain” ahead of a summit such as the November 22-23 meeting of EU leaders to discuss the bloc’s 1 trillion euro ($1.3 trillion) spending plan.

    • 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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