What’s An Increase Of 42% Among Friends?

Somebody just slammed Germany in the face with a brick. I mean a Brexit.

EU

Germany to contribute 42% more to EU budget: report – The European Commission would like to see €13 billion more per year from Europe’s largest economy. EU leaders, including Angela Merkel, are meeting Friday to discuss the bloc’s future budget.

Germany currently contributes an average of €31 billion a year to the EU budget. The proposal for the new budget would raise that contribution to €44 billion — an increase of 42%.

$1.5 Trillion?

There must be a better word than “stimulus” for that.

Stimulus

Wherever medication is given in huge and sudden doses, there’s a risk of unpleasant side effects. In Germany, and Europe generally, one of these may be a lasting shift in governing philosophy from market-friendly policies to state interventionism. That needn’t end in central planning. But even going part of the way would mean buying relief today at the price of misery tomorrow…

First, governments tend to confuse a company’s size with strength. Second, they’re usually worse than private investors at spotting winners, and always worse at pulling money out of losers. Third, they turn the economy into a big lobbying competition for businesses, which eventually hurts taxpayers and consumers.

Ha, Ha, Ha

A new slogan will make “Europe strong again?” Gemeinsam. Europa wieder stark machen.

Europe

Back off, Trump. Germany wants to Make Europe Strong Again. Berlin’s EU presidency motto has echoes of MAGA.

Slogans, as we all know, are merely slogans. The track record here is what you have to go by and it ain’t pretty. The Eurozone hasn’t even begun to deal with Brexit while Angela Merkel signals submission to France to accept a Schuldenunion (a debt union – paying the debt for Southern European countries – yes, they have a North and a South problem here too) when all of a sudden this little thing we call Corona has prompted Brussels to suggest an $826 billion economic stimulus plan (even more debt)  for a “union” of countries that can’t even protect their borders and that only appears to be unified when it comes to supporting  anything that weakens the United States (see China) and on and on we go but together they will make Europe strong. Again. Again?

Make Europe Strong Again. MESA? All I see is a MESA problems that nobody is prepared to fix.

Austria Doing Germany’s Job Again

Frugality? Refusing to pay other countries’ debts? That was “old Germany.”

Austria

Now the Germans need a country like Austria to take care of the problem for them – just like the Austrians took care of Merkel’s migrant madness by closing their borders way back when.

‘Frugal four’ nations counter Franco-German EU initiative – Four EU countries have teamed up, rejecting Macron and Merkel’s persistent lobbying for a €500 billion rescue fund. Instead, they have their own scheme on how to save Europe from economic fallout amid the pandemic…

The four countries also indicated that they will neither agree to a mutualization of debt nor an increase in the EU budget. Their draft proposal was seen by the German Press Agency (DPA) on Saturday.

“Our objective is to provide temporary, dedicated funding through the EU budgetû and to offer favorable loans to those who have been most severely affected by the crisis.”

German Of The Day: Wiederaufbaufonds

That means reconstruction bonds. Or Eurobonds/Coronabonds light. Or Germany breaking a taboo and knuckling under to France to share debt with other EU countries, if you prefer.

Merkel

It’s hard to keep up with them. Politicians just can’t burn money fast enough these days.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel broke with her country’s longstanding opposition to raising money together with other – often poorer – EU countries. But the proposal made with French President Emmanuel Macron is limited in scale and duration, which could help her sell it to skeptics back home.

It consists of 500 billion euros ($550 billion) in loans and grants to help countries through the recession, and is viewed by some as a step toward stronger EU ties as the 27-country union faces challenges not just from the virus crisis, but from populist forces in member countries Hungary and Poland who want to loosen the bloc’s ties.

Werteunion ruft zu Widerstand gegen Merkel auf.

“Incomprehensible” And “Meaningless”

Are the previous court decisions ruling that the European Court of Justice can have primacy over national law in Germany. It’s also “incomprehensible” that it took so long for everybody to figure this out. I sure hope that this latest ruling won’t be ruled out as “meaningless” later but I’ve had my hopes dashed before.

Judge

Germany’s constitutional court sent shockwaves through Europe last week by ruling that the German government and the EU’s top judges failed to properly scrutinise the European Central Bank’s bond-buying programme.

The judgment threatens to turn the European Commission against Germany, the EU’s biggest member state. It raises doubts over the primacy of the European Court of Justice over national law. It also risks driving a wedge between the ECB and its biggest shareholder, the Bundesbank.

Germany’s highest court dismissed an earlier ECJ ruling in ECB’s favour as “incomprehensible” and “meaningless”. That bombshell decision opened the door to potential legal challenges against the EU from other countries, such as Poland and Hungary, whose authoritarian governments are already at odds with Brussels.

An Inconvenient Truth

Germany hides the awkward truth about the euro.

Germany

Mr Kohl’s offence — the original sin, I would say, at the launch of the single currency — was to shy away from spelling out to German voters the inescapable meaning of the bargain. It still goes unsaid. In short, Germany is the biggest beneficiary of European integration. The EU supplies the democratic stability and economic certainty on which its prosperity has been built. No country has more to lose from a break-up.

These benefits, understandably, carry a price tag. As the EU’s most powerful economy, Germany bears a proportionate responsibility for the stability of the enterprise.

The mantra in Berlin continues to obfuscate. Germany, it says, will never accept a “transfer union”. In real life, of course, that horse has already bolted. The true choice is between the shadow transfer union represented by the mountain of national central bank liabilities that have built up at the ECB — so-called Target balances — and the creation of an economic union that admits the role of fiscal policy in managing economic demand.

The present catch-22 is that those with room to operate the fiscal levers — Germany and its northern neighbours — refuse to do so. Those pressing for a more expansionary stance — led by France — lack the budgetary headroom.

Speaking Of Null…

Zero, that is.

Debt

Germany May Abandon Its Beloved Black Zero – Chancellor Angela Merkel is still clinging to her policy of a balanced budget, but it is becoming increasingly clear that Germany’s economic downturn could soon usher in a return to deficit spending…

For years now, a balanced federal budget, known here in Germany as the “schwarze Null,” or black zero, without any fresh borrowing, has been a permanent fixture of German fiscal policy. After four decades of chronic borrowing to finance the German national budget, the shift stood for the renunciation of the debt state and became a symbol of sound policy. But now the issue is the subject of debate again — not only due to expensive political plans, but also the threat of a recession in Germany…

“We can accomplish the tasks at hand without accruing new debt.”

And You Thought Paying Back Your Student Loan Was A Bitch

And I’m sure it was but…

Debt

Germany’s World War I Debt Was So Crushing It Took 92 Years to Pay Off – After the Treaty of Versailles called for punishing reparations, economic collapse and another world war thwarted Germany’s ability to pay…

The Allies exacted reparations for World War II, too. They weren’t paid in actual money, but through industrial dismantling, the removal of intellectual property and forced labor for millions of German POWs. After the surrender, Germany was divided into four occupation zones, and in 1949 the country was split in two. Economic recovery, much less reparations payments, seemed unlikely.

By then, West Germany owed 30 billion Deutschmarks to 70 different countries, according to Deutsche Welle’s Andreas Becker, and was in desperate need of cash. But an unexpected ray of hope broke through when West Germany’s president, Konrad Adenauer, struck a deal with a variety of western nations in 1953. The London Debt Conference canceled half of Germany’s debt and extended payment deadlines. And because West Germany was required to pay only when it had a trade surplus, the agreement gave breathing room for economic expansion.

Soon, West Germany, bolstered by Marshall Plan aid and relieved of most of its reparations burden, was Europe’s fastest-growing economy. This “economic miracle” helped stabilize the economy, and the new plan used the potential of reparations payments to encourage countries to trade with West Germany.

Still, it took decades for Germany to pay off the rest of its reparations debt. At the London Conference, West Germany argued it shouldn’t be responsible for all of the debt the old Germany had incurred during World War I, and the parties agreed that part of its back interest wouldn’t become due until Germany reunified. Once that happened, Germany slowly chipped away at the last bit of debt. It made its last debt payment on October 3, 2010—the 20th anniversary of German reunification.

Illustrious? At Risk?

What Germany are these journalists writing about?

Merkel

Merkel’s illustrious reign is at risk of being tarnished. Huh?

That nobody really much cares about or follows what is going on in Germany is one thing but to start churning out science fiction about a parallel German universe is simply irresponsible.

There is nothing “illustrious” about Angela Merkel’s “reign” and there is absolutely, positively no risk that it could become tarnished. It already is tarnished. It can’t get more tarnished than it already is, in fact. Ask any German on the street and he/she will tell you. The journalists at CNBC ought to consider giving that a try.

Sakrileg, the German word for sacrilege: the violation or misuse of what is regarded as sacred. I’m about to go there. Has German Chancellor Angela Merkel been a disaster for Europe, and is her prolonged tenure at the Federal Chancellery extending the region’s problems rather than holding them back?