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.”

It’s Not That We’re Too Strong

The rest of you guys out there in Europe are just too weak. Like start doing more push-ups or something.

Germany

German dominance is in part a consequence of others’ retreat. That may be why complaints have been muted. “If the Italians don’t bring pasta and the French don’t bring pâté,” says a diplomat, “you can’t complain about Mrs Merkel’s cabbage soup.

PS: And speaking of getting stronger, you folks over at the FDP should learn to smile a little already. Polls indicate that you’re back over that magical 5 percent line and could get back in the saddle again – if elections were to be held today.

Remember When Spain Was Down And Out?

Mercedes Benz seems happy enough building cars there now, for instance. Then you’ve got the current Greek government

Spain

The European Central Bank is predicting that Spain will be one of the economic drivers of Europe in 2015. Powered by a cheap euro and low interest, economic growth is predicted to rise by 2.3 percent this year. The Spanish government is expecting one million additional jobs for 2014 and 2015.

Along with Portugal and Ireland, Spain represents an example of how an economic crisis can be turned into an opportunity. These countries’ experiences show that a nation can recover its economic competitiveness through painful reform, even in a monetary union.

As a result, Spain — especially in the eyes of liberal economists — represents the counterpoint to Greece, which has gotten entangled in its national battle against economic relegation and is losing ever more time with its recriminations against the rest of the euro group.

German-Greek Tensions Ease After First WWII Reparations Payment Rolls In

European politicians everywhere breathed a collective sigh of relief as a mentally challenged German couple holidaying in Greece made the first ever private WWII reparations payment of $935 to Greece to make up for their government’s bad and nasty attitude.

Übermacht

Spokesmen for Brussels and Berlin were quick to point out that this shows how private people with good intentions can also “burn up money like nobody’s business” and how “like you shouldn’t always point your finger just at us when we squander away our dough. Your dough, that is. You’re pretty good at this, too.”

“They made their calculations and said each German owed 875 euros for what Greece had to pay during World War II.”

Uber And Out

Always remember: What is not expressly allowed in Germany is strictly forbidden.

Uber

A court in Frankfurt has ruled that the UberPop ride-hailing service may not operate anywhere in Germany for the simple reason that, uh, well, you ought to have an official permit to do so. To be the driver, I mean.

This is a big relief for everybody here because if people didn’t have to have official permits to use the service then anybody could just simply offer or choose to use the service on his or her own, without being regulated. One can’t have that here because this would make the people who would otherwise make the regulations and hand out the permits superfluous and also make taxi driving more competitive and even bring down prices for the consumer, without these prices being properly regulated first, I mean. There are a lot of bad implications here, people. So, like I said, strictly forbidden. Or verboten, if you prefer.

And besides, they spell Uber wrong.

„Ubers Geschäftsmodell basiert auf Rechtsbruch.“

Mass Numbers Of Germans Flee Country

And then return again. Several times a year even. They call it Tourismus (tourism).

Travel

That’s right, when not moaning about capitalism and democracy itself, Germans like to spend their ample free time breaking new records in the World Travel Champions category. In 2014 they spent more than 67 billion euros traveling, for instance, five percent more than the year before. The next record for 2015 seems to be vorprogrammiert (preprogrammed), too.

Die Deutschen lassen sich ihren Urlaub so viel kosten wie nie. Mehr als 67 Milliarden Euro gaben sie im vergangenen Jahr für Urlaubsreisen von mindestens fünf Tagen aus, plus fünf Prozent zum Vorjahr.

A New Axis Of Evil Or Something

It’s not just Germany hurting Greek feelings anymore (although the Germans are still evil, too).

Tsipras

The Greek government is now accusing Spain and Portugal of conspiring against it, as well. It’s a conspiracy, you see, because these two countries are willing to carry out the stringent reforms needed to get their economies going again. Greece clearly is not.

Greece’s leftist Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras accused Spain and Portugal on Saturday of leading a conservative conspiracy to topple his anti-austerity government, saying they feared their own radical forces before elections this year.

How much longer is this show going to go on?

“Nach europäischen Maßstäben war das ein sehr ungewöhnliches Foulspiel. Das tun wir nicht in der Euro-Gruppe, das gehört sich nicht.”

What A Steal

In more ways than one. Investors are now paying for the privilege of lending Germany money.

Bonds

On Wednesday, Germany issued its first 5-year bond ever with a negative yield, which means investors are making a loss by loaning money to the German government. It sold €3.3 billion ($3.7 billion) of debt at a negative yield of 0.08%, according to the country’s Finance Agency.

If it sounds backwards, that’s because it is.

Investors appear willing to buy at these rates because of falling inflation in Europe. There are even concerns about deflation, which could trigger bigger problems like a recession. The idea is that these German bonds would lose less value than other assets.

PS: Thanks for the way cool “V for Varoufakis” video, A.K.

 

Germans Confused Why Everybody In Europe Wants TTIP Except Them

It’s like I say, folks: A real German says no first and asks questions later (that was oddity 255, if you’re interested). And if US-Amerika is involved in the calculation (see TTIP), all bets are off.

TTIP

“The EU has published a survey according to which citizens are downright euphoric about the free trade agreement TTIP. In all, 25 Member States [of the 28] there will pour sheer enthusiasm over the completely secretly negotiated agreement, but for one small exception: Germans are mostly against the TTIP.”

Die EU hat in Deutschland einen merkwürdigen Zusammenhang zwischen der Befürwortung von TTIP und der „Demokratiezufriedenheit“ der Bürger ausgemacht. In anderen Ländern lasse sich ein solcher Zusammenhang nicht feststellen.

Capitalism Causes All This Awful German Affluence

And it must be stopped immediately (the capitalism, not the affluence). And let’s get rid of democracy while we’re at it.

Democracy

Survey says… Nearly a third of Germans believe that capitalism is the cause of poverty and hunger.

The poll of 1,400 people found that 59 percent of Germans in the formerly communist east consider communist and socialist ideals a good idea for society. In western Germany, 37 percent said they considered communist and socialist ideals to be good…

The survey found that more than 60 percent of Germans believe there is no genuine democracy in their country because industry has too much political influence and that the voice of the voters plays only a subordinate role.

Although not covered by this particular survey, capitalism and democracy are clearly also the cause behind the German obesity problem, the German six weeks of vacation a year problem, the German lowest unemployment rate and highest per capita (does that word come from capitalism?) savings in all of Europe problems, too. To name just a few.

Einer Studie zufolge glauben mehr als 60 Prozent der Bürger, dass in Deutschland keine echte Demokratie herrscht.

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