It’s Magic

Christmas magic. The German media clones (aka Brain Police) are passing around Christmas presents in a frenzy.

Media

On the one hand: The number of applications for asylum in Europe is climbing again for the first time since 2015 (half a Million). On the other hand: The number of asylum seekers in Germany continues to decline.

At first glance, this doesn’t make much sense. Taking a closer look, however, this doesn’t make any sense at all. But tis the season to be jolly, folks, so when it comes to fake news numbers, fa-la-la-la-la, la-la-la-la.

Fast eine halbe Million Menschen: Eurostat meldet laut einem Medienbericht erstmals seit 2015 steigende Asylantragszahlen. Deutschland nimmt jedoch relativ gesehen immer weniger Menschen auf.

The EU Needs More Money From Germany

That’s a shocker. Gee. I wonder why?

EU

It’s not like the arrogance and hubris of EU technocrats let the second biggest contributor to their budget walk away from their, well, generous redistribution system or anything. No, not at all. It’s… What is it, anyway? Is this still the Europe you want, Germany?

The U.K. was a strong proponent of free-trade, EU enlargement and pragmatic cooperation to tackle security threats. It opposed a “fortress Europe” approach, pushing for a competitive and open economy.

Britain also became in recent years the EU’s second-biggest net funder. EU officials say the U.K.’s departure will leave an estimated €84 billion ($93 billion) hole in the bloc’s next seven-year budget.

Agreeing on the size and makeup of that €1 trillion-plus budget will be the first major post-Brexit fight. Efforts to cut the amount of money spent on the EU’s newer members in Central and Eastern Europe risk further embittering the bloc’s east-west relations, already scarred by fights over migration and democratic norms.

Germany To Repay Customers Of Insolvent Thomas Cook

How nice of Germany to do that. But where does Germany get the money to repay them?

Germany

It’s no Kunststück (slight of hand), folks. I could repay customers of insolvent companies all day long too as long as I had somebody else’s money to repay them with. Just milk the taxpayer again, in other words.

Germany will give financial assistance to customers hit by the insolvency of Thomas Cook because the tour operator’s insurance cover has proved insufficient, it said on Wednesday…

Insurer Zurich’s (ZURN.S) liability is capped at 110 million euros ($121 million) but it has already registered claims worth 250 million and experts estimate total claims will reach 300 million to 500 million euros, ARD said.

A legal opinion commissioned by Zurich concluded that state liability is possible because the German government inadequately implemented a 2015 EU directive meant to ensure customers get their money back in the case of the insolvency of a tour operator, the report said.

“Damages that are not compensated by other parties will be settled by the federal government.”

Deportation German Style

When Germans say deportation they mean deportation. It’s just that deportation clearly means something else in German than it does in English. Even though it means deportation, I mean. And here I thought I spoke the language. Sheesh.

Deportation

Germany: Thousands of migrants return after deportation, report says – Thousands of asylum-seekers in Germany have returned multiple times after deportation, according to a report in German media. Those with entry bans often serve a few months in jail or are not arrested at all…

There are nearly 5,000 asylum-seekers who have reapplied for asylum after being deported from Germany since 2012, according to the report, which cites official government figures. Some of the asylum-seekers willingly left Germany, knowing deportation was imminent. The then returned to German to make another application for asylum, according to the report.

German oddity 234: Germany is a country that now places the ugly security controls, bollards and heavily armed police it used to have on its national borders at Christmas markets and Volksfeste around the country instead.

Spend More Like We Do

Says the EU. We don’t always know what we’re spending it on but we sure know how to do it.

Waste

As “German industrial orders fell more than expected in August on weaker domestic demand, adding to signs that a manufacturing slump is pushing Europe’s largest economy into recession,” the EU Commission advises Germany to spend more.

And EU knows all about spending other people’s money. It spent nearly four billion euros last year alone on things it can’t even account for – and most of the things it can account for are wasteful enough.

Konjunkturschocks“ – EU-Kommission drängt Deutschland zu mehr Ausgaben

Brewing Has Always Been Big In Germany

An Industrial Crisis Is Brewing in Germany – The country’s position as the “engine of Europe” is under genuine threat.

Germany’s industrial sector contributes more than one-fifth of GDP and is usually a huge asset. Right now this export engine is pulling the economy down. Signs of distress are everywhere. German manufacturing activity is at a decade low, according to IHS Markit’s purchasing manager’s index. The Ifo Institute estimates that more than 5% of manufacturing companies have cut working hours and about 12% expect to do so during the next three months. German machinery orders declined 9% in the first six months of the year, according to the VDMA association, which represents the country’s engineers. In chemicals and pharmaceuticals, domestic production fell 6.5% in the first half of the year, while domestic car output has fallen 12% this year. Auto exports have dropped 14%.

German Of The Day: Schleierfahndung

That means targeted or dragnet searches.

You know. Like the kind you do on your nation’s borders that aren’t actually borders anymore because you belong to something called Europe now (apparently you didn’t belong to Europe in the past) and doing so would send an “anti-European signal” so you don’t really want to but you’re going to anyway? Yeah, those kind.

Germany is to carry out more random border checks to discourage migrants from moving illegally around the European Union (EU).

The move will see more police officers sent to border zones in an attempt to crack down on “secondary migration” — the illegal movement of non-EU migrants between EU member states — according to a Sunday tweet from the Interior Ministry.

“Anti-europäisches Signal.”

Wane’s World

Normally I’d say don’t let the door hit you on the way out, Angie but the Germans have this saying: Totgesagte leben länger: Those reputed to be dead live longer.

Wane

I don’t think this woman is ever going to leave.

Merkel’s political twilight sees Germany’s influence wane – As the chancellor’s final term ticks away, her ability to set the political agenda is diminishing fast.

… For some in Berlin, the French leader’s gambit reflected a broader trend — Germany’s waning influence on the international stage. There was a sense that Paris had simply stepped into a diplomatic vacuum once occupied by Berlin. “Macron can only be this active because Germany has become so passive,” says Omid Nouripour, foreign affairs spokesman for Germany’s opposition Greens.

Ms Merkel, in her twilight as chancellor, embodies this perception of decline. As her last months in power tick away, her ability to set the political agenda appears to be diminishing fast.

“We live in an age when people want someone to give them direction, and they won’t get it from her.”

German Of The Day: Strafzins

That means “punitive interest rate” and refers to a rates below zero.

Strafzins

It’s an accurate word invention. The ECB has cut rates again and those who save are punished.

The German term “Strafzins”, or “punishment rate” is widely used in the country’s media to refer to interest rates below zero. And a day after the ECB cut rates for the first time since the spring of 2016, it is back in the news.

This is despite the fact there is an alternative German word for negative rates: negativzins (as Michael Steen, formerly of the FT and ECB global media chief, pointed out on Twitter).

Admittedly negativ also has . . . negative connotations. But the use of “straf”, or “punitive”, reflects a widespread perception across Germany that the ECB is penalising savers through its monetary policy.

“They want to pump us up with the credit drug.”

German Of The Day: Graf Draghila

That means Count Draghila.

Draghila

You know, as in Mario Draghi, the European Central Bank President?

Mass-selling German newspaper Bild on Friday accused European Central Bank President Mario Draghi of “sucking dry” the bank accounts of Germany’s savers, a day after the ECB cut interest rates deeper into negative territory.

Next to a photomontage of Draghi with fangs and dressed as a vampire, Bild’s headline read: “Count Draghila is sucking our accounts dry.”

Hoping to kick-start economic activity nearly a decade after the euro zone’s debt crisis, the ECB on Thursday cut interest rates deeper into negative territory and promised bond purchases with no end-date to push borrowing costs even lower.

“The horror for German savers goes on and on.”