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?

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AKK Taling CaCaCa

Mini-MErkel alarm! Could this be the end of her beginning or the beginning of her end?

AKK

One can only hope for the later.

Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer (AKK), leader of Germany’s centre-right CDU, faced a massive backlash on Tuesday after calling for tighter rules on politicking on the internet, with critics accusing her of advocating online censorship.

Her comments came after European elections in which the CDU and its main left-of-centre rival, the Social Democrats, slumped to their worst results in a national election since the second world war, as voters defected in their droves to the Greens.

“Freedom of expression is a precious commodity in a democracy. What we need to talk about are rules that would apply during election campaigns.”

The Natives Are Getting Restless

Nice spin, though: Europeans showed belief in the EU project, experts claimed Monday, despite long-dominant centrist parties losing ground to euroskeptic and nationalist opponents in the EU elections.

So, by voting for euroskeptic and nationalist parties you are actually voting for the EU? Uh, OK.

Are we having fake news yet?

“I think the voter turnout shows that people really still care about the EU and what the European Union is doing. It shows a trend that, rather than weakening, it’s going to strengthen.”

What A Horrifying Thought

I shudder to think of what could happen to Europe after this weekend’s big European Parliament elections. I mean, should the people actually choose to vote for parties that would, gulp, “elevate the sovereignty and economic interests of individual member-states over the collective interests of the EU.

Horror

The horror.

Salvini, who’s framed himself the de facto leader of this coalition, has embraced the slogan “Towards a Common Sense Europe.” Besides Le Pen’s National Rally and Wilders’s Party for Freedom, other far-right parties have joined the cause, including Germany’s Alternative for Deutschland (AfD) and Austria’s (currently scandal plagued) Freedom Party. Broadly, these leaders want to curtail immigration. They may want to reorient the EU’s priorities on the global stage, too.

But, mostly, they want to elevate the sovereignty and economic interests of individual member-states over the collective interests of the EU.

“There are no extremists, racists, or fascists in this square. Here you won’t find the far-right, but the politics of good sense. The extremists are those who have governed Europe for the past 20 years.”

PS: Isn’t that picture they chose to use for the article brilliant? No suggestive images here, folks.

Well, Then He Shouldn’t Announce Tariffs, Right?

German auto sector could drop as much as 12% if Trump announces tariffs, analyst says.

Tariffs

Gee, I wonder if there is anything the Germans/Europeans could do to prevent that from happening? I dunno. How about like maybe lowering their tariffs? Just thinking out loud here, people.

Germany’s automotive sector could fall as much as 12% over “three bad trading days,” if President Donald Trump imposes tariffs on European car manufacturers, one analyst told CNBC.

Trump has until Friday midnight (Washington time) to decide whether to impose duties on car imports. This would likely hurt Germany, the EU’s traditional growth engine, given that it is one of the largest direct car exporters to the U.S.

“If indeed we get U.S. car tariffs on imports from the euro zone — not just their announcement, you could forget our economic forecasts completely. No chance of a sustained pick-up in activity throughout the second half as we expect.”

Shame On Him!

Trump treats Germany like ‘America’s worst ally.’

Worst

Especially because, well, like, you know… They are.

North Korea, China, Iran, Cuba, Venezuela: America currently has disputes with a lot of countries. Europeans, meanwhile, have done quite well at keeping their heads down. A US-EU trade truce is still holding. And Nato’s 70th anniversary festivities in Washington came and went in early April without tweet fireworks from the president threatening US withdrawal.

There was one notable exception to this queasy peace, however: Germany.

At a think-tank event during the Nato celebrations, vice-president Mike Pence castigated Germany for its inadequate defence spending and for being a “captive of Russia”. A few weeks later, presidential daughter-in-law Lara Trump opined on Fox Business that Angela Merkel’s welcome of refugees in 2015 had been Germany’s “downfall” and “one of the worst things to ever happen” to the country.

Germany is, in fact, having a bit of a moment in the roiling imagination of the Trumpian nationalist right. It has been denounced as “selfish” and “America’s worst ally” by Ted Bromund, a scholar at the Heritage Foundation. Jakub Grygiel, until last year a member of the State Department’s policy planning staff, called it “a source of fear and resentment”. And Michael Anton, a former senior White House adviser for strategic communications, just published an essay on the “Trump Doctrine” which contends that the EU is “a fraud” and Germany “treats the EU as a front organisation”…

Like I said. All of this is outrageous. And, well, I dunno, like, how should I put it? True. It’s actually much worse than all of that but nobody wants to hear it so, shame on you, President Trump!

Above Average?

Germany’s labor costs above EU average? Sure. But take a closer look. Forget about Eastern Europe.

Cost

Germany is one of the lowest when it comes to labor costs in Western Europe. And maybe there’s a connection here somewhere but it’s unemployment rate is also one the lowest.

“This convergence of relative labor costs results from the fact that in countries with low labor costs, growth rates have been well above those of countries with already high labor costs for many years.”

German Of The Day: Handelskrieg

That means trade war.

Handelskrieg

A trade war between the United States and Europe is coming and the fallout could tip Germany into recession, according to analysts at German lender Commerzbank…

Official German statistics supplemented by the bank’s own research show that in 2018, the United States was the top export destination for German cars, accounting for about 12% of the total with a value of 27 billion euros of parts or finished vehicles.

The bank estimated that a Trump-ordered tariff increase of 25 percentage points on EU auto imports would slash that figure for Germany down to around 14 billion euros per annum.

When factoring in how much of that export figure is actual German “added value,” the bank estimated that total economic output for the country could fall by around 0.25 percentage points.

“All the more dangerous in a situation where the German economy is only just managing to avoid a recession,” it read.

Germans Are Just Crazy About The EU

Or at least that’s the impression you get consuming the media reports here.

Manfred

Manfred

In reality, however, nobody really knows what it is or how it works, much less who to vote for. Not even when a German is running for European Commission president in the upcoming election.

Only around one in four Germans (26 percent) knows who Manfred Weber is, just a month ahead of a European election he hopes will help propel him to being the next European Commission president.

But Weber, the lead candidate for the European People’s Party (EPP), is not alone in having a relatively low profile on the domestic political scene. According to a YouGov poll commissioned by dpa, 45 percent of Germans do not know any of the nine leading party candidates for the European Parliament election.

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.