Chief Correspondent, Germany
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Feb 25, 2015

Germany readies reluctant approval of Greek extension

BERLIN (Reuters) – Chancellor Angela Merkel and Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble are rallying reluctant German lawmakers to approve an extension of Greece’s bailout despite Schaeuble’s avowed doubts about the credibility of Athens’ latest reform plans.

Merkel’s right-left coalition has a big enough majority to easily win a vote, expected on Friday, on extending the 240 billion euro international rescue for four months. It is set to prevail, despite vocal pockets of resistance on the right and left.

Feb 13, 2015

“Merkel mania” as hyperactive chancellor tackles Ukraine, Greece

BERLIN, Feb 13 (Reuters) – Kiev, Moscow, Munich, Washington,
Ottawa, Minsk and Brussels — all in a week’s work for Angela
Merkel, whose tireless efforts to broker peace in Ukraine and
keep Greece in the euro zone won praise even from the
chancellor’s fiercest critics in Germany.

“I don’t feel bad. And the week isn’t even over. Tomorrow is
a working day,” Merkel said late on Thursday after negotiating
for 16 hours to wrestle a ceasefire deal from Russia’s Vladimir
Putin before flying straight to Brussels to deal with the
Greeks.

Feb 11, 2015

Greenaway’s film on Sergei Eisenstein won’t please Putin’s Russia

BERLIN, Feb 11 (Reuters) – British director Peter
Greenaway’s explicit treatment of Sergei Eisenstein’s
homosexuality, in his new film about the maker of the Soviet-era
masterpieces “Battleship Potemkin” and “October”, may not please
Russia’s modern rulers.

In “Eisenstein in Guanajuato”, which premiered at the Berlin
Film Festival on Wednesday, the Russian — played exuberantly by
Finnish actor Elmer B├Ąck — loses his virginity aged 33 with the
help of his male Mexican guide and a bottle of olive oil.

Feb 7, 2015

Merkel defends Ukraine arms stance in face of U.S. criticism

MUNICH (Reuters) – Germany’s Angela Merkel said on Saturday that sending arms to help Ukraine fight pro-Russian separatists would not solve the crisis there, drawing sharp rebukes from U.S. politicians who accused Berlin of turning its back on an ally in distress.

The heated exchanges at a security conference in Munich pointed to cracks in the transatlantic consensus on how to confront Russian President Vladimir Putin over a deepening conflict in eastern Ukraine that has killed more than 5,000.

Feb 7, 2015

Any Ukraine deal will not accept rebels’ military gains-UK’s Hammond

MUNICH, Feb 7 (Reuters) – Any peace deal between the
Ukrainian government and pro-Russian separatists will not
recognise military gains the rebels have made, Britain’s foreign
minister said on Saturday at talks in Munich among senior U.S.,
EU, Ukrainian and Russian officials.

Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said any deal that might
result from the latest Franco-German peace initiative would have
to take into account changes on the ground since a ceasefire
agreed in Minsk last September, which has been largely ignored.

Feb 7, 2015

Europe and U.S. clash over how to confront Putin on Ukraine

MUNICH, Feb 7 (Reuters) – Germany’s Angela Merkel warned on
Saturday that sending arms to help Ukraine fight pro-Russian
separatists would not solve the crisis there, drawing a sharp
rebuke from a leading U.S. senator who accused Berlin of turning
its back on an ally in distress.

The heated exchange at a security conference in Munich
pointed to the fragility of the transatlantic consensus on how
to confront Russian President Vladimir Putin over a deepening
conflict in eastern Ukraine that has killed more than 5,000.

Feb 7, 2015

Merkel rules out arming Ukraine government but unsure peace push will work

MUNICH (Reuters) – Germany’s Angela Merkel on Saturday ruled out sending weapons to the Ukrainian government to fight pro-Russian separatists but said there was no guarantee that her latest peace initiative with French President Francois Hollande would work either.

Speaking at a Munich conference on Saturday attended by top U.S., European, Ukrainian and Russian officials, Merkel said the Franco-German peace plan presented to Kiev and Moscow this week was worth trying, but “it is uncertain if it will succeed”.

Feb 6, 2015

Europeans warn Washington: arming Kiev will backfire

MUNICH, Feb 6 (Reuters) – European defence officials warned
on Friday that arming Ukraine in its fight against pro-Russian
separatists would only inflame the conflict, but were told by
NATO’s top soldier, an American general, that the West should
consider using “all tools” if diplomacy with Moscow wasn’t
working.

The debate at the Munich Security Conference highlighted an
emerging rift between Europe and Washington over how to confront
Russian President Vladmir Putin as Moscow-backed rebels make
territorial gains in eastern Ukraine.

Feb 5, 2015

Dialogue of the deaf as Greek and German ministers meet

BERLIN, Feb 5 (Reuters) – The maiden meeting between
Greece’s iconoclastic new finance minister from the Marxist left
and his 72-year-old conservative German nemesis was never going
to be easy. It turned out even worse than expected.

Yanis Varoufakis, notoriously casual in his dress, wore a
dark shirt and jacket but no tie to meet the veteran Wolfgang
Schaeuble. Not only did they look awkward together – they could
not even agree on how much they had disagreed.

Jan 27, 2015

Gates, UK take lead in $7.5 bln pledge for children’s vaccines

BERLIN, Jan 27 (Reuters) – International donors pledged $7.5
billion on Tuesday to immunise 300 million children in poor
countries against deadly diseases such as diarrhoea and
pneumonia.

At a Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation (GAVI)
conference in Berlin, Microsoft founder Bill Gates and the
British government topped the donations list at $1.55 billion
and $1.5 billion respectively.

    • 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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