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Jul 6, 2014

Germany urges U.S. to explain suspected ‘double agent’ case

BERLIN (Reuters) – The German government wants a quick and clear explanation from Washington for U.S. intelligence’s apparent contact with a German man arrested last week on suspicion of being a double agent, the Interior Minister said in a newspaper interview.

“I expect everyone to cooperate promptly to clear up these allegations – with quick and clear comments from the United States as well,” Thomas de Maiziere told Bild newspaper, according to excerpts of its Monday edition.

Jul 6, 2014

German spy warns firms ‘easy prey’ to espionage as Merkel visits China

BERLIN, July 6 (Reuters) – A German intelligence chief
warned, as Chancellor Angela Merkel embarks on her latest visit
to China, that some firms in Europe’s biggest economy face a
growing threat from industrial espionage by Chinese government
agencies with huge resources.

“Many German Mittelstand companies are easy prey,”
Hans-Georg Maassen, head of the BfV domestic intelligence
agency, told a Sunday newspaper, referring to the small and
medium-sized family firms that are the backbone of the economy.

Jul 3, 2014

Berlin talks bring Russia and Ukraine closer to resuming ceasefire

BERLIN/KIEV (Reuters) – The foreign ministers of Russia and Ukraine agreed in Berlin on Wednesday to hold three-way talks involving pro-Moscow rebels by Saturday to pave the way for a new ceasefire, despite continued fighting that Kiev says has now killed 200 of its troops.

“It is a clear commitment to a multilateral ceasefire,” said German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier after talks with Russia’s Sergei Lavrov, Ukraine’s Pavlo Klimkin and French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius. Russia and Ukraine continued to blame each other for the violence that marred the 10-day ceasefire, which Kiev declared over on Monday before resuming its military offensive against separatists in the east, many of whom had ignored the truce.

Jul 2, 2014

Merkel warns Russia on sanctions ahead of Berlin talks on Ukraine

BERLIN/KIEV (Reuters) – Germany’s Angela Merkel warned Moscow ahead of talks on Ukraine on Wednesday that economic sanctions remained an option unless it backed peace efforts, as Ukrainian government forces pressed on with an offensive against pro-Russian rebels.

The Ukrainian, Russian, German and French foreign ministers were due to meet in Berlin at 4.30 p.m. (1430 GMT) to discuss restoring a 10-day ceasefire in eastern Ukraine, which the chancellor said had prompted “no significant reaction” from the separatists.

Jul 1, 2014

Boko Haram to hit Nigerian GDP again, investors resilient-minister

BERLIN, July 1 (Reuters) – Boko Haram’s insurgency will slow
Nigeria’s economy again this year, knocking half a percentage
point off growth like last year, the finance minister said on
Tuesday, adding that her 6.75 percent 2014 growth forecast took
this into account.

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala told Reuters that while the violence in
the northeast might put off some potential foreign investors,
those who were in Nigeria for the long term seemed to be holding
their nerve, as did portfolio investors in its government debt.

Jun 27, 2014

German lower house passes renewable energy law

BERLIN, June 27 (Reuters) – Germany’s Bundestag lower house
of parliament on Friday passed a law to reform the system of
renewable energy subsidies, clearing the first hurdle for a plan
that could still be stopped by the European Union following a
conflict over its legality.

The law – part of Germany’s efforts to wean itself off
nuclear power – still needs approval from the upper house and
the European Commission, which is concerned exemptions from a
surcharge on green power may infringe EU state aid laws.

Jun 25, 2014

Merkel signals leeway on EU budget rules, insists on Juncker

BERLIN (Reuters) – Germany’s Angela Merkel signaled her readiness on Wednesday to give EU states more flexibility within current budget rules to promote growth and job creation, but made clear she will push her choice of European Commission chief over British objections.

The chancellor appeared to come down clearly on the side of a more lenient interpretation of the European Union’s Stability and Growth Pact to help countries like Italy and France balance the push for reform with the need to reduce high unemployment.

Jun 24, 2014

Italy, Germany cloak budget differences in common language

ROME/BERLIN (Reuters) – Italy and Germany are using the same words ahead of this week’s European Union summit as debate heats up on whether economic policy should focus on budget austerity or stimulating growth, but they do not necessarily mean the same thing.

Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, buoyed by success in last month’s EU elections, has led calls for a new direction, saying battered southern economies can take no more of the medicine that has crushed growth and sent unemployment soaring.

Jun 16, 2014

Germany doesn’t want ECB reform to give Bundesbank permanent vote

BERLIN/FRANKFURT, June 16 (Reuters) – Germany sees no reason
to change the new voting system at the European Central Bank
that takes effect when Lithuania joins the euro next year,
despite a potential loss of influence for the Bundesbank, the
finance ministry said on Monday.

Once Lithuania becomes the 19th state to adopt the European
Union’s single currency next January, the national central bank
governors who sit on the ECB’s Governing Council will take turns
voting, to speed up decision-making

Jun 15, 2014

German eurosceptics go mainstream in threat to Merkel

BERLIN, June 15 (Reuters) – The Alternative for Germany
(AfD) failed to make as big a splash in European elections last
month as its eurosceptic counterparts in France and Britain. But
that may be about to change.

Less than a month after the vote, the party formed last year
by a group of renegade academics is on track to establish itself
as a permanent force in German politics and a long-term headache
for Chancellor Angela Merkel and her Christian Democrats (CDU).

    • 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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