Chief Correspondent, Germany
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Sep 17, 2012

Merkel urges go-slow approach to EU bank supervision

BERLIN, Sept 17 (Reuters) – German Chancellor Angela Merkel
warned on Monday against rushing to create a new pan-European
bank supervisor under the roof of the ECB, saying it was more
important to put a credible watchdog in place than to meet
Europe’s self-imposed January deadline.

Speaking at her traditional summer news conference in
Berlin, delayed this year to allow the Constitutional Court to
rule first on Europe’s new rescue fund, Merkel also voiced
support for European Central Bank (ECB) President Mario Draghi’s
decision to buy the bonds of stricken euro states.

Sep 12, 2012

German court seen okaying EU bailout fund, strings attached

BERLIN/KARLSRUHE (Reuters) – Germany’s Constitutional Court is expected to give its approval on Wednesday to the euro zone’s new bailout fund while insisting on guarantees to safeguard German parliamentary sovereignty and limit Berlin’s financial exposure.

Chancellor Angela Merkel remained tactfully quiet as the court kept policymakers and markets on tenterhooks for months, delaying the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) and fiscal compact to check that they comply with German democratic rules.

Sep 11, 2012

German top court rejects delay to euro ruling

BERLIN, Sept 11 (Reuters) – Germany’s Constitutional Court
will go ahead with a long-awaited ruling on Wednesday on the
legality of the euro zone’s new permanent bailout fund and
budget rules, despite a last-minute legal challenge by a member
of parliament.

On Tuesday, the court rejected an attempt to further delay a
ruling on the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) and fiscal
compact, which had previously been pushed back by months while
the judges reviewed whether the German parliament is permitted
under the constitution to ratify the treaties.

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

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.

    • 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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