Chief Correspondent, Germany
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Sep 7, 2012

German media, lawmakers decry ECB ‘blank cheque’

BERLIN, Sept 7 (Reuters) – Germany’s conservative press
accused the European Central Bank on Friday of writing a “blank
cheque” to indebted euro zone states by agreeing to buy their
bonds, and some pro-government lawmakers threatened legal action
to stop the purchases.

ECB President Mario Draghi unveiled plans on Thursday for
potentially unlimited purchases of bonds of up to three years
maturity of countries that request a European bailout and fulfil
strict policy conditions. The German central bank chief was the
sole dissenting voice in the decision.

Jul 24, 2012

Risk, history shape German view on Europe referendum

BERLIN, July 24 (Reuters) – “Do you, German men and women,
endorse this policy of your Reich government, and are you ready
to express, of your own free will, that you will solemnly commit
yourself to it?”

An undercurrent of menace in the wording of the Nazis’ 1933
referendum to leave the League of Nations – ratified by 95
percent of voters – and the abuse of plebiscites in the Weimar
Republic explain a lingering unease in Germany about national
referendums.

Jul 16, 2012

Court delay, Spanish doubts hinder Merkel euro response

BERLIN, July 16 (Reuters) – Chancellor Angela Merkel appears
to be reaching the limits of German patience on the euro zone
crisis, with the Constitutional Court and members of her own
coalition seeking deeper scrutiny of whether emergency measures
comply fully with national law.

The Constitutional Court said on Monday it would keep Europe
waiting for nearly two more months before announcing on Sept. 12
whether Germany can legally ratify Europe’s permanent bailout
scheme and the fiscal pact for budget discipline.

Jul 13, 2012

Germany tells Jews, Muslims they will be free to circumcise

BERLIN (Reuters) – Chancellor Angela Merkel’s spokesman promised Germany’s Jewish and Muslim communities on Friday they would be free to carry out circumcision on young boys despite a court ban which has provoked concerns about religious freedom.

In a country that is especially sensitive to allegations of intolerance because of the Nazis’ slaughter of 6 million Jews in the Holocaust, the government said it would find a way around the Cologne court ban in June as a matter of urgency.

Jul 11, 2012

“Nuisance” German court may exact price for euro approval

BERLIN, July 11 (Reuters) – Germany’s top court, which has
already proved a “nuisance” by delaying Europe’s newest tools
for fighting the debt crisis, is likely to set conditions for
their approval that could go as far as demanding a referendum.

“It is our task to be a nuisance when it comes to European
policy and integration,” is how one judge defined the role of
the Constitutional Court, which on Tuesday defied pressure for a
snap verdict to allow Germany to ratify the crisis measures. The
judge agreed to discuss the role on condition of anonymity.

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).

    • 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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