Chief Correspondent, Germany
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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.

Jun 18, 2012

Relieved Europe hints at more time for Greece

BERLIN/ATHENS (Reuters) – Euro zone paymaster Germany, relieved at a narrow election victory for Greece’s pro-bailout parties, signaled on Monday it may be willing to grant Athens more time to meet its fiscal targets to avert a catastrophic euro exit.

But financial markets’ relief that the 17-nation European currency area had avoided plunging deeper into crisis was mitigated by concern about unresolved problems in Greece, the lack of a comprehensive plan for the euro zone as a whole and weakness in the world economy.

Jun 15, 2012

Eurosceptics bid for national stage in Germany

BERLIN, June 15 (Reuters) – Konrad Adenauer must be turning
in his grave.

The founder of Germany’s ruling Christian Democrats (CDU)
did not live to see the ultimate expression of his vision of
European unity – the single currency – come into being.

Nor did postwar West Germany’s first chancellor live to see
his own grandson abandon the party to join a small but growing
band of German Eurosceptics.

Jun 11, 2012

Merkel faces tough sell at home over Spanish aid

BERLIN (Reuters) – Angela Merkel’s government was forced to defend an EU rescue for Spain’s indebted banks on Monday, with many Germans convinced their generosity is being abused and skeptics warning that promising aid without tough conditions sets a risky precedent.

Aides to the German chancellor justified the huge bailout on the grounds that the Spanish economy was not in such dire shape that it required the kind of terms imposed on Greece, and the aid would not be paid directly to Spanish banks but to the government.

Jun 7, 2012

Merkel, Cameron spar on UK party’s exit from bloc

BERLIN, June 7 (Reuters) – Two starkly differing views on
pan-Europeanism were on display on Thursday as Germany’s
Chancellor Angela Merkel and Britain’s Prime Minister David
Cameron sparred over his party’s exit from a centre-right bloc
in the European parliament.

The Tories’ exit from the European People’s Party (EPP) in
2009 after Cameron became party leader remains a sore point
between London and Berlin, who otherwise share plenty of common
ground on issues like the need for fiscal discipline in Europe,
despite Britain not being a member of the euro zone.

Jun 6, 2012

Cash for home-parents tests German cabinet unity

BERLIN, June 6 (Reuters) – German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s
cabinet approved a divisive bill on childcare payments on
Wednesday, resolving a damaging row over the legislation among
her coalition partners but setting up a confrontation with
opponents in parliament.

The bill – which would give parents an allowance to keep
their toddlers at home rather than sending them to nursery – has
split a nation where the role of working mothers is still hotly
debated.

May 24, 2012

Clegg says time to shift UK economy up a gear

BERLIN, May 24 (Reuters) – British Deputy Prime Minister
Nick Clegg said on Thursday that data showing Britain’s economy
shrank more than expected in the first quarter underlined the
need to accelerate efforts to free up investment and credit.

Britain’s economy, in its second recession since the 2007-08
financial crisis, contracted by 0.3 percent between January and
March, Thursday’s data showed, following a slump in construction
output.

    • 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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