Do They Strike This Much In Greece?

European travelers have contended for weeks with the possibility that Greece’s dwindling finances might lead to empty ATMs. They should have concerned themselves instead with Germany.

ATM

While cash machines in Athens are still operating without any trouble, striking couriers in Berlin this week stopped filling ATMs, leading to a crunch for those trying to make withdrawals. And the open-ended labor dispute with a local security company means there’s no end in sight.

Berlin’s strike is the latest in a series of walkouts that have riled a nation more accustomed to mocking the labor strife which has so often beset neighboring France. A strike by train drivers that began Tuesday is paralyzing travel and clogging highways throughout Germany. That action follows a March walkout by pilots at Deutsche Lufthansa AG that led to flight cancellations for 220,000 people.

Dial M For Merkel

And something tells me there was a lot of heavy breathing during this telephone conversation, too.

Tsipras

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras made an uncexpected telephone call to German Chancellor Angela Merkel that nobody wants to comment about officially.

Bild newspaper reported on Monday that Tsipras had called Merkel as well as Euro group head Jeroen Dijsselbloem to try to convince them of the need for more help for Greece and for the need for an emergency meeting of EU leaders this week.

Bild said the reason for the call is that the Greek government has run out of money

“It’s on fire and there’s no water there to put out the fire. The situation is more than dramatic.”

Plan B For Bankrupt

Tick tock tick tock

Plan B

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble hinted on Saturday that Berlin was preparing for a possible Greek default, drawing a parallel with the secrecy of German reunification plans in 1989.

“You shouldn’t ask responsible politicians about alternatives,” Schaeuble answered, adding one only need to use one’s imagination to envisage what could happen.

He indicated that if he were to answer in the affirmative that ministers were working on a Plan B — what to do when Greece runs out of money and cannot pay back its debt — he could trigger panic.

“Da ist überhaupt nichts dran. Der Plan B wurde nicht diskutiert.”

It’s TTIP, All Right

It’s TTIP of your normal-everyday-hysterical-German-anti-American iceberg.

TTIP

“All this enters the debate, but it surprises me a bit that the resistance is so strong in a country like Germany, where the benefits will be the greatest.”

The most controversial element of TTIP is a plan to let companies have legal disputes with governments heard by supra-national tribunals, which campaigners say would undermine national sovereignty and favour big business.

The so-called investor-state dispute settlement, or ISDS, allows firms to sue national governments if they feel that local rulings — such as health and safety regulations — violate the trade deal and threaten their investments.

The courts are a critical issue for US negotiators, who underline that these types of panels have existed for decades and are already included in thousands of trade deals worldwide, including about 400 in Europe.

„Dabei ist es geradezu bizarr, dass die Debatte in Deutschland so aufgeheizt ist: Schließlich profitiert kein Land so stark von TTIP wie Deutschland.”

Is Nothing Sacred?

I don’t want to be a fish stick in the mud, but speaking of the “U.S. push for world domination…”

Igo

Now the US-Amerikaner have bought Captain Igloo HIMSELF.

85 Prozent der Erlöse stammen aus Deutschland, Österreich, Italien und Großbritannien.

Der Käpt’n ist nicht mehr zeitgemäß. Geworben wird jetzt ohne ihn.

German Of The Day: Alleingang

An ancient German tradition, Alleingänge are when Germans, as Germans, go it alone.

TTIP

In this particular case it has to do with their Empörung (another traditional German word meaning indignation or outrage) about TTIP, a planned free trade deal between Europe and the United States. Strangely, much like their hysterical reaction to Fukushima and subsequent Alleingang out of nuclear power, no one else in Europe really understands what their concern is all about.

These protestors aim to change that, however. Germany’s fellow Europeans, they feel, clearly do not seem to understand what this treaty is really about: It is a planned free trade deal between Europe and the United States. Hello? Is anyone home out there? A trade deal with the United States? As in US-Amerika?

“The U.S. push for world domination is unacceptable. Obama sends out drones to kill people and wins the Nobel peace prize. This has to stop.”

Ultra-Safe German Government Debt?

It’s good to be the king. Isn’t it?

King

More than half of all German government debt with more than one year maturity is now trading negative.

Investors have been warned of dangers of holding German government debt, as unprecedented central bank easing sends the country’s 10-year borrowing costs towards zero.

“If you look at bunds in anything other than the shortest possible timescale, the risk becomes very clear.”

This Just In: Germany Suddenly Owes Greece $305 Billion For World War II

Or at least that’s what the Greek parliament just figured out.

Reparations

However, Italy also suddenly owes Greece $216 billion for its invasion in 1940, too, they said.

After that you’ve got the Ottoman Empire owing the Greeks $197 billion for, well, for being Turks.

Then the Roman Empire will also still need to shell out an additional $116 billion for those nasty Macedonian wars.

And then, of course, Iran will have to step up and pay Greece $97 billion for the ugly Persian Invasion back in 484 BC.

This will still leave Greece with a humungous debt, of course, the parliamentarians noted, but nothing that another little loan from their friends in the European Union won’t fix.

Germans Don’t Frack Around

Germany is just about to make German fracking safer. In a country that doesn’t do any fracking in the first place, versteht sich (it’s understood). And they are going to make it safer by banning it altogether. Makes sense to me. When I concentrate really hard and try to think like a German, I mean (can’t do it for very long, though).

Fracking

The new draft law, which now goes to parliament for approval, will impose an outright ban on fracking for shale gas in the next few years and only allow scientific test drilling under strict conditions to assess the risks and environmental impact.

The law could allow commercial shale gas fracking in exceptional cases from 2019 but only after successful test drilling and the approval of a special committee.

Germany’s gas industry has warned restricting fracking could increase the country’s dependence on imported energy at a time when geopolitical concerns, particularly over Ukraine, are growing.

The BDI industry lobby group described the new conditions as “completely over the top”.

Last year, gas imports from Russia accounted for 37 percent of Germany’s supply. Only 12 percent of Germany’s needs were covered by its own reserves, down from almost a fifth a decade earlier.

To Russia With Love

I mean with debt. Go with God, Greece, but go (to Russia for more dough). I’m sure they’ll make you an offer you can’t refuse.

Russia

Greece’s energy minister is visiting Russia today after calling for a confrontation with a “Germanised Europe” in the country’s stalling bailout negotiations.

The visit comes less than a fortnight before Greek prime minister Alexis Tsipras is due to visit Russian president Vladimir Putin, the date of which was reportedly brought forward because of Greece’s financial disputes with the European Union.

“Today, it becomes even more evident to me that the pathway of the country away from the crisis goes through tough confrontation, if not collision, with the Germanized Europe.”

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