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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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”.
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.
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.
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”.
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.