Chief Correspondent, Germany
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Jul 9, 2012

Rabbis to meet in Berlin to protest circumcision ban

BERLIN (Reuters) – Jewish religious leaders will hold an international meeting in Berlin on Tuesday to discuss how to respond to a German court ruling against performing circumcision on baby boys, which also sparked protests from Muslims and Christians in Germany.

A court in the western city of Cologne caused an uproar in June by ruling in the case of a Muslim boy who suffered bleeding after such an operation that circumcision causes bodily harm and should only be performed on males old enough to give consent.

Jul 5, 2012

Europhiles, skeptics put faith in top German court

BERLIN (Reuters) – In some places Germany’s Federal Constitutional Court is seen as a stone in the shoe of European integration, but at home polls show it is trusted more than any other institution, trumping government, parties and the media.

Though only 2.4 percent of about 6,000 complaints brought before the court each year are upheld, europhiles and eurosceptics alike are looking to the court to draw the lines to defend German sovereignty and self-interest as the euro zone debt crisis demands more concessions from the region’s paymaster and biggest economy.

Jun 29, 2012

German parliament approves EU bailout fund

BERLIN (Reuters) – Germany’s parliament resoundingly approved the euro zone’s permanent bailout scheme and new budget rules on Friday, but legal hurdles remain and Chancellor Angela Merkel’s concessions to euro zone partners Italy and Spain may make those harder to overcome.

The outcome of the vote was never seriously in doubt after opposition parties agreed to back the budget rules, or “fiscal compact”, in return for growth and job creation measures. Merkel needed their support to get a required two-thirds majority.

Jun 29, 2012

Bundestag approves EU bailout fund, fiscal pact

BERLIN, June 29 (Reuters) – Germany’s lower house of
parliament resoundingly approved the euro zone’s permanent
bailout scheme and new budget rules on Friday, but legal hurdles
remain and Chancellor Angela Merkel’s concessions to euro zone
partners Italy and Spain may make those harder to overcome.

The outcome of the vote was never seriously in doubt after
opposition parties agreed to back the budget rules, or “fiscal
compact”, in return for growth and job creation measures. Merkel
needed their support to get a required two-thirds majority.

Jun 29, 2012

German MPs to pass crisis tools but concessions grate

BERLIN, June 29 (Reuters) – Germany’s parliament will
finally approve a permanent euro zone bailout scheme and new
budget rules on Friday drawn up by Angela Merkel, but legal
hurdles remain and her overnight concessions to euro zone
partners Italy and Spain may make them harder to overcome.

A deal with the opposition should give the chancellor,
hurrying back from a tense European Union summit, the required
two-thirds majority in the Bundestag (lower house) and Bundesrat
(upper house) votes beginning at 5 p.m. (1500 GMT).

Jun 29, 2012

German MPs to pass crisis tools but hurdles remain

BERLIN (Reuters) – Germany’s parliament will finally approve on Friday the euro zone’s permanent bailout mechanism and new European budget rules drawn up by Chancellor Angela Merkel, but ratification of these tools for combating the debt crisis still faces legal hurdles.

Merkel will hurry back from a tense European Union summit for voting in the Bundestag (lower house) and Bundesrat (upper house) beginning at 5 p.m. (1500 GMT). A deal with the opposition will ensure she gets the two-thirds majority needed.

Jun 27, 2012

Merkel stands firm on euro bonds before EU summit

BERLIN, June 27 (Reuters) – German Chancellor Angela Merkel
accused other European leaders on Wednesday of wanting to put
the cart before the horse by pressing for common bond issuance
to fight the euro zone crisis before agreeing to tough new
budget controls.

Speaking in the Bundestag lower house of parliament before a
summit in Brussels on Thursday and Friday, Merkel did leave the
door open for the first time to using proceeds from a proposed
financial transactions tax (FTT) to boost growth and
competitiveness in struggling euro countries.

Jun 26, 2012

Venezuelan tribe angry at “sacred” stone in Berlin

BERLIN (Reuters) – Wolfgang von Schwarzenfeld’s sculptures in a Berlin park were meant to promote world peace, but the 79-year-old German now finds himself at war with a Venezuelan tribe which accuses him of stealing a sacred pink stone known to them as “Grandmother”.

The Venezuelan government is championing the Pemon Indians of the “Gran Sabana” region by demanding the return of the polished stone from Berlin’s Tiergarten park – putting the German government in something of a dilemma.

Jun 19, 2012

Court complaint won’t stop Germany ratifying ESM

BERLIN/KARLSRUHE (Reuters) – Germany’s top court said on Tuesday Angela Merkel’s government did not adequately consult parliament on setting up the euro zone’s permanent bailout scheme, though the ruling is not expected to delay its ratification by Germany.

A government source, a legal expert and a member of Merkel’s conservatives in the Bundestag (lower house) said Germany was still on track to vote on the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) and the “fiscal pact” for budget discipline in Europe by the end of the month.

Jun 18, 2012

Germany to cut Greece slack after vote backs bailout

BERLIN, June 18 (Reuters) – Germany may cut Greece some
slack after its voters backed a pro-bailout party in weekend
elections, with officials saying Athens might get more time to
meet its savings goals, though longer-term economic reforms were
still set in stone.

German officials, seeing the conservative New Democracy’s
win as a vote to keep Greece in the euro zone and respect the
terms of the European Union and International Monetary Fund
bailout, struck a conspicuously softer line.

    • 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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