Chief Correspondent, Germany
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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”.

Oct 12, 2012

New Mexican leader woos German investors on Pemex

BERLIN, Oct 12 (Reuters) – Mexican President-elect Enrique
Pena Nieto tried on Friday to drum up German interest in his
plans to open up national oil company Pemex to the private
sector, but faced questions from potential investors about drug
violence in his country.

Pena Nieto, who takes office Dec. 1, laid out his plans to
deregulate Mexico’s labour market and change the law to allow
private investment in Pemex at a meeting in Berlin
organised by Deutsche Bank, Germany’s biggest bank.

Oct 11, 2012

Mexico president-elect taps Merkel know-how on renewable energy

BERLIN, Oct 11 (Reuters) – Mexican President-elect Enrique
Pena Nieto sought advice on Thursday on how to develop his
country’s renewable energy sector from Germany, a world pioneer
in the sector.

Pena Nieto, who takes office in December, kicked off a tour
of European capitals by discussing clean energy production, the
euro zone crisis and other issues with Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Oct 10, 2012

German media bristles at hostile Greek reception for Merkel

BERLIN (Reuters) – German newspapers attacked “ungrateful” Greeks for the hostile public reception they gave Angela Merkel in Athens and some criticized the chancellor’s generosity for promising they would stay in the euro zone – a message welcomed in Greece.

Pictures of a small group of Greek anti-austerity demonstrators dressed as Nazis, including one with a Hitler moustache waving a swastika, dominated German coverage of Merkel’s first visit to Athens since the sovereign debt crisis began three years ago.

Oct 5, 2012

Merkel’s challenger rebuffs criticism of high earnings

BERLIN (Reuters) – The center-left challenger to German Chancellor Angela Merkel in next year’s elections, former finance minister Peer Steinbrueck, on Friday fended off criticism of his lucrative earnings from speeches, books and company boards.

The nomination of the 65-year-old Social Democrat (SPD) has prompted a slew of criticism of his high earnings outside the Bundestag (lower house) from Merkel’s center-right coalition but also from the SPD’s left wing and from anti-graft campaigners.

Sep 28, 2012

Steinbrueck to challenge Merkel in 2013

BERLIN (Reuters) – Peer Steinbrueck, an abrasive former finance minister, will lead the German Social Democrats’ challenge to unseat chancellor Angela Merkel in a parliamentary election a year from now.

Announcing their “chancellor candidate” some months earlier than expected, the centre-left opposition took Germany by surprise on Friday; Steinbrueck, a combative veteran from the right of the SPD, marked out a campaign theme of tougher rules for banks and a goal of coalition government with the Greens.

    • 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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