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Nov 14, 2014

Germany just escapes recession, France beats low expectations

BERLIN/PARIS (Reuters) – Germany narrowly avoided recession in the third quarter of the year and France exceeded low expectations, putting the euro zone on course for anaemic growth but no contraction.

Europe’s largest economy eked out 0.1 percent growth from the previous three months, the German statistics office said on Friday, following a revised 0.1 percent fall in the second quarter.

Nov 13, 2014

Germany warns anti-semitism rising on back of Middle East violence

BERLIN (Reuters) – Germany’s foreign minister said at an international conference on anti-semitism on Thursday that “hatred of Jews” was on the rise once more in his country and across Europe, fueled by spiraling violence in the Middle East.

Frank-Walter Steinmeier said Germany’s Jews were subjected to threats and attacks at pro-Palestinian demonstrations, and the conflict between Israel in Gaza must not be used as justification for an anti-semitic behavior.As well as slogans like “Gas the Jews!” during some marches, in July at the height of the 50-day Gaza war petrol bombs were thrown at a synagogue in Wuppertal which had been burnt down on Kristallnacht – a Nazi attack on the Jews in 1938 – and rebuilt.

Nov 11, 2014

EU to discuss Russia sanctions, Ukraine support next week: Mogherini

BERLIN (Reuters) – European Union foreign ministers will discuss whether to increase sanctions on Russia and how to help Ukraine when they meet in Brussels next week, EU foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini said on Tuesday.

“Next week we will have a ministerial meeting in Brussels on Monday and there will be a discussion there, but I would say not just on whether to increase the sanctions but most of all how to support Ukraine in these difficult times,” Mogherini told reporters in Berlin.

Nov 7, 2014

West Berlin recalls ‘island’ of freedom that vanished with Wall

BERLIN (Reuters) – With East Germany in the limelight of celebrations of 25 years since the fall of the Berlin Wall, people who spent the Cold War in the capitalist enclave of West Berlin can be forgiven for feeling overlooked.

But after a quarter of a century of “Ostalgie” – the often morbid nostalgia for the former communist east – the west side is quietly telling the story of an “island of freedom” that vanished with the Wall, in an outpouring of “Westalgie”.

Nov 6, 2014

Germany disappoints with new investment pledge

BERLIN (Reuters) – German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble announced 10 billion euros in additional public investments on Thursday but said Berlin would only splash out more money once it had achieved its goal of balancing the federal budget next year.

Germany is under intense pressure from some of its European partners to spend more to boost the bloc’s stalling economy, but it has stuck doggedly to a budget goal that Chancellor Angela Merkel’s “grand coalition” unveiled one year ago, when the growth outlook was much rosier.

Nov 6, 2014

German railway takes legal action against striking train drivers

BERLIN (Reuters) – German state-owned railway operator Deutsche Bahn will take legal action against a train drivers’ union staging a four-day strike from Thursday to Monday which has paralyzed passenger and freight transport across the country.

Deutsche Bahn filed an injunction with a Frankfurt labor court on Thursday after the GDL drivers’ union rejected an offer of mediation and began what would be the longest strike in the German railway’s post-war history.

Nov 5, 2014

UK, Germany offer plan to break Bosnia’s EU deadlock

BERLIN/LONDON (Reuters) – Britain and Germany put forward a plan on Wednesday to revive Bosnia’s stalled bid to join the European Union, offering to unlock EU funds in exchange for commitments to institutional reform from the country’s yet-to-be-formed new government.

Bosnia is stuck bottom of the pack of Western Balkan states seeking EU membership, hampered by an unwieldy system of ethnic power-sharing set out in the Dayton peace accords which ended a 1992-95 war and divided the former Yugoslav republic into two autonomous regions.

Nov 4, 2014

EU growth forecasts show German prudence not working, Italy says

BERLIN (Reuters) – The latest reduction in growth forecasts for the euro zone proves that Germany’s and the outgoing European Commission’s “prudent” approach to investment has failed and must be exchanged for pro-growth policies, a senior Italian official said on Tuesday.

“Today’s economic forecasts are good news, because they confirm that the approach is wrong,” Sandro Gozi, the Italian cabinet’s undersecretary for European affairs, said in Berlin.

Nov 2, 2014

German President questions Left’s credentials to run eastern state

BERLIN (Reuters) – Germany’s President made a rare foray into party politics on Sunday, questioning whether the party descended from the communists who once controlled East Germany is ready to run one of the reunified country’s 16 states.

A week before celebrations marking a quarter century since the fall of the Berlin Wall, Joachim Gauck said he still did not trust the radical Left party to govern well.

Oct 29, 2014

Fifty-one countries sign OECD pact to tackle tax cheats

BERLIN (Reuters) – Finance ministers and tax chiefs from 51 countries signed an agreement on Wednesday to automatically swap tax information, which Germany’s finance minister said heralded the end of tax evasion via secret bank accounts.

“Let’s make a joint contribution to more transparency and fairness in our globalized 21st century,” Wolfgang Schaeuble told a taxation conference of about 100 countries coordinated by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development.

    • 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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