German Of The Day: Naivität

That means naivete, as in being gullible or simple-minded.

China

Here’s an example: Industry Leaders Accuse Europe of Naivete with Respect to China – China’s aggressive approach in extending its economic power is causing concern among European companies. They demand a tougher approach from Brussels – and a convincing vision.

Good luck with that, European industry leaders. “Europe” doesn’t have time to deal with little issues like that at the moment, nor will it have any time in the near future. It is too occupied with self-inflicted problems like uncontrolled migration and Brexit (and the ensuing financial crisis) and placing the next batch of non-elected and unaccountable EU eurocrats in power. But once all that is taken care of, who knows? That little Chinese issue might just get tackled, too.

Die aggressive Vorgehensweise Chinas bei der Ausdehnung seiner Wirtschaftsmacht bereitet europäischen Unternehmern Sorgen. Sie fordern eine härtere Gangart von Brüssel – und eine überzeugende Vision.

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The EU Meddles In Elections, too?

I knew it! You go, Facebook.

Facebook

Facebook Says It Will Work With Germany to Counter E.U. Election Meddling.

Stand up, people. Fight European technocratic fake news now!

German Of The Day: Zusage

That means pledge – like the one Germany just made (increase in defense spending to 2% by 2024 instead of 2028 or 2030).

Zusage

President Donald Trump appeared to declare victory on Thursday in his battle with America’s closest allies to get them to contribute more money to the NATO alliance. Mr. Trump acknowledged that he had taken a tough stance with his European counterparts, demanding they contribute more of their national budgets to defense and saying after Thursday’s meetings, “they upped their commitments and I am very happy…”  

Under fire for his warm embrace of Russia’s Vladimir Putin, Mr. Trump on Wednesday turned a harsh spotlight on Germany’s own ties to Russia, alleging that a natural gas pipeline venture with Moscow has left Angela Merkel’s government “totally controlled” and “captive” to Russia.

Auch Deutschland habe große Zusagen gemacht – das Zwei-Prozent-Ziel solle nun wesentlich früher erreicht werden als ursprünglich geplant – laut Trump nicht erst 2028 oder 2030, sondern schon 2024.

It’s Like Pulling Teeth

To get this woman to do anything, I mean.

Merkel

Angela Merkel’s friends and enemies lined up in Berlin on Friday morning to defend and attack the chancellor after she stayed up for hours with EU leaders in Brussels hammering out a common European Union plan on keeping out more asylum-seekers.

The ultimate question was whether Merkel had found a deal satisfactory enough to appease her Bavarian allies. The Christian Social Union (CSU) precipitated a government coalition crisis in the past few weeks by insisting that asylum-seekers who had already registered in other countries be turned away at the German border.

“It is the result of a debate in Germany that the migration issue is finally being addressed more strongly at an EU level.”

Alle CSU-Forderungen hat der EU-Gipfel nicht erfüllt. Dennoch gehen die Beschlüsse so weit in Richtung Abschottung, dass selbst Kanzler Kurz zufrieden ist. Ein Erfolg ist die Einigung, weil Europa auf gemeinsame Lösungen setzt.

That Was Close

Just in time, people. Brussels has just proudly and loudly announced that it plans to encourage and better protect whistleblowers in order to help them “bring light to scandals that would otherwise remain in the dark.” You know, like the Facebook thing, the Panama Papers, scandals like that. Or maybe like this one right down here?

EU

“Experts Strongly Suspect Corruption in the European Council.” Several members of the European Council are suspected of having taken bribes from Azerbaijan in exchange for political support.

Perfect. They really think these things through, don’t they? So now it’s time to step up to the plate and start shedding some light on this for us, European Council whistleblowers. But don’t worry. Brussels will protect you. Oh, I forgot. You are Brussels. Why, see? Then there’s even less for you to worry about.

“Es sollte keine Strafe dafür geben, das Richtige zu tun.”

“Trump is awful but…”

“He’s right.”

Handelsbilanz

Uh-oh. All bets are off now. I may have found a German economist who is willing to take an unpopular stand and defend certain aspects of the Trump administration’s policy. Unpopular? Sacrilegious is more like it, right?

“On one side there’s the EU with a trade surplus that is mostly supplied by the huge German surplus. On the other side is the USA that has been living with deficits for 30 years. Germany is the world’s largest surplus country and the USA is the world’s largest deficit country. The trade practiced between these two national economies may be free but it is not efficient. This criticism of the German undervaluation strategy – that is, the relatively weak salary increases combined with a weak euro – has been around since presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama. Politicians in Congress have warned about making trade deals with notorious surplus countries. Trump is just the first one to do anything about it.”

“Every country can do whatever it wants – but not when it is part of a currency union in which there are no exchange rates that could be adjusted. Germany procures an advantage in global trade not just due to the quality of its products vis-a-vis its EU partners, the USA and other countries. In the past 15 years salaries in Germany have remained far behind productivity. We gain advantages over other national economies through wage dumping.”

“Will the punitive tariffs have a real effect on the German economy? Not so quickly. They have just been little needle pricks up until now. But if the EU now pursues the loud-mouth announcements made by Commission President Jean-Claud Juncker and reacts with its own punitive tariffs it is possible that the USA’s reaction will be more massive. Yet Trump is merely following a very simple rule here that no one in Germany wants to believe: The losers in such a trade conflict will be the trade surplus countries and the winners will be the deficit countries.”

Aber wenn die EU jetzt den großmäuligen Ankündigungen des EU-Kommissionspräsidenten Jean-Claude Juncker folgt und mit eigenen Strafzöllen reagiert, kann es sein, dass die USA noch massiver reagieren. Trump folgt doch einer einfachen Regel, die in Deutschland niemand wahr haben will: Verlieren werden in einem solchen Handelskonflikt die Handelsüberschussländer und gewinnen werden die Defizitländer.

It’s Not Just About The Two Percent We Promised To Spend On Defense As A NATO Country

And still aren’t spending (1.3 percent the last time I checked), Angela Merkel explained to Donald Trump.

Trump

It’s also about “what a country makes available to NATO and what capabilities we have,” whatever that means. The Oktoberfest and world class table tennis talent or what?

Citing this week’s attack in the English city of Manchester, Trump told fellow alliance leaders including German Chancellor Angela Merkel that NATO should focus its efforts on combating terrorism. Yet of the 28 member nations, 23 “are still not paying what they should be paying and what they’re supposed to be paying for their defense,” he said.

“Wir freuen uns auch, dass in Zukunft nicht nur gefragt wird, wie viel wird für Verteidigung ausgegeben, sondern auch, was stellt man als Land der Nato zur Verfügung, welche Fähigkeiten haben wir und welche Beiträge leisten wir. Ich glaube hier kann sich Deutschland sehen lassen, und das werde ich auch hier deutlich machen.”

Designated Loser (SPD) Magnanimously Makes Room For Next Designated Loser (SPD)

The current head of the SPD, Sigmar Gabriel, has decided not to run as SPD candidate for chancellor in next September’s Merkelection, magnanimously allowing the all-knowing and immensely more annoying Martin Schulz to lose in his stead instead.

SPD

Schulz, commissar refugee from Brussels currently seeking asylum in Germany, could not be reached for comment but this does not really matter because he never freakin’ stops talking anyway.

Das Porträt zeigt einen Politiker, der “nach einem halben Jahr Nachdenken, Zweifeln, Ringen, nach Fahrplanänderungen und Freundschaftskrisen” endlich mit sich im Reinen ist.

I’m Outta Here!

Speaking of Sozis… Failing to lead from the front, Martin Shulz is now hightailing it out of the shambles he helped create in Brussels and will now lead from behind in Berlin. Or maybe he won’t. Nobody who has ever paid any attention to this guy seems to particularly care.

Schulz

This guy has never accomplished anything but spend a whole lot of time on any German political talk show you can think of being THE expert on any “European” subject you can think of talking about. He helped a lot with Greece (not). He stopped Brexit from happening (not), he helped solve Europe’s refugee crisis and its deficit spending crisis and on an on and on (lots more nots here). He lectured US-Amerika right and left (mostly right) about all those things Europeans lecture US-Amerika about. He did that particularly well, I must say, but he’s just one of legion in that department so who needs him? In other words, he was the perfect non-elected European bureaucrat boss-type and he will be sorely missed until his replacement non-elected European bureaucrat boss-type is crowned by whoever it is who crowns them – so he/she can then carry on where Schulz left off. Accomplishing nothing. But with style.

The long-serving parliament boss will stand as an MP for his Social Democratic party in North Rhine-Westphalia, opening the door for a potential run at the German chancellorship in elections next year. Speaking to reporters on Thursday morning, an emotional Mr Schulz said: “It was not an easy decision.”