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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.

Nov 1, 2012

Kenny presses Merkel for “clarity” on Irish bank relief

BERLIN (Reuters) – German Chancellor Angela Merkel offered Ireland’s leader no clear signal on Thursday on easing the country’s banking debt burden beyond reiterating that she sees it as a “special case”.

Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny had played down hopes of a breakthrough during his visit to Berlin on the 1-1/2-year-old campaign to relieve the burden placed on Ireland by its failed banks. He said in a video on a government website that his meeting with Merkel was “not about making a decision”.

Oct 30, 2012

French minister urges euro zone to start pooling debt

BERLIN, Oct 30 (Reuters) – French Finance Minister Pierre
Moscovici urged the euro zone on Tuesday to take a first step to
mutualise its short-term debt, stopping short of jointly-issued
“Eurobonds” which he recognised German Chancellor Angela
Merkel’s government flatly rejects.

“We are not talking any more about Eurobonds. I know it is a
red line here in Germany, for some, the present government among
them,” Moscovici said at a conference alongside his German
counterpart, Wolfgang Schaeuble.

Oct 24, 2012

Draghi defends bond-buying plan in lion’s den

BERLIN (Reuters) – European Central Bank President Mario Draghi gave a robust defense of his bond-buying plan to ease the euro zone’s debt crisis, telling skeptical German lawmakers that fears of illegal funding of governments or stoking inflation are misplaced.

Draghi emerged from the lion’s den of the Bundestag lower house smiling after a two-hour grilling behind closed doors on Wednesday on the ECB’s Outright Monetary Transactions (OMT) program, which the German central bank has denounced as tantamount to printing money to finance governments.

Oct 23, 2012

UK’s Hague tells Germans “less is more” on Europe

BERLIN, Oct 23 (Reuters) – Britain’s foreign secretary told
Germany on Tuesday his country was more disillusioned than ever
with the European Union and set out a vision of its future,
based on the premise “less is more”, that clashed directly with
Berlin’s plans for the euro zone.

William Hague dashed any hope of a conciliatory message to a
key European partner which fears Britain is gradually
withdrawing from the EU, saying Britons feel the Union “is a
great machine that sucks up decision-making”.

Oct 22, 2012

German irritation grows as Britain drifts to margins of Europe

BERLIN, Oct 22 (Reuters) – Until recently, German officials
tended to down play divisions with Britain when pressed about
its semi-detached stance on Europe. Not any more. Now they tend
to make their irritation plain.

“If someone wants to leave, you can’t stop them,” said one
senior German official, summing up a view in Berlin that the
door is open if Britain really wants to quit the European Union.

Oct 18, 2012

Merkel urges stronger EU budget powers ahead of summit

BERLIN (Reuters) – Germany’s Angela Merkel called ahead of an EU summit for stronger central powers to intervene when member states break budget rules and rebuffed demands from Berlin’s partners for the quick creation of a pan-European bank supervisor.

In a speech to the lower house of parliament hours before EU leaders meet, the chancellor put herself on a collision course with French Socialist President Francois Hollande and others, who are reluctant to cede sovereignty over fiscal policy and want the ECB to get new watchdog powers by year-end.

Oct 17, 2012

Positive yield draws strong bids for German debt

LONDON/BERLIN, Oct 17 (Reuters) – Germany sold 4.2 billion
euros of two-year debt on Wednesday, drawing strong demand for
its safe-haven bonds as a rise in yields above zero offset the
impact of Spain retaining its investment grade credit rating.

Moody’s Investors Service kept Spain’s rating at Baa3,
surprising some in the market who had positioned for the country
at the forefront of the euro zone debt crisis to be downgraded
to “junk”.

    • 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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