Yes, You Can

But you better be polite. The Germans are thinking too much. Again.

Can You Speak To a War Criminal?

Russia has tens of thousands of lives on its conscience in Ukraine, yet calls for diplomatic initiatives are growing louder in the West. In Germany, a growing number in both the governing parties and the opposition would like to see talks with Moscow.

When the German chancellor speaks to Vladimir Putin by phone, the Russian president is always extremely polite. People familiar with the calls say that his voice it rather soft and that the tone is less preachy than in his public appearances. Putin usually speaks a few sentences of German as a greeting before switching to Russian, with an interpreter then jumping in to translate…

“You can’t negotiate with this Putin right now.” Annalena Baerbock, German foreign minister.

German Of The Day: Bröseln

That means to crumble.

Europe’s unity ‘crumbling’ on Russia sanctions, Germany warns – EU struggles to find compromise over plan to impose embargo on buying oil from Moscow.

Europe’s unity on sanctions against Russia is “starting to crumble”, Germany’s economy minister has warned as diplomats highlight continued divisions over a package of sanctions set to be discussed by member states on Monday.

Robert Habeck spoke as EU ambassadors meeting in Brussels on Sunday failed to agree on the bloc’s latest package of sanctions against Moscow, including a plan to stop imports of Russian oil which Hungary has been blocking for weeks.

Diplomats had hoped to agree on measures to put to EU leaders who are due to start a two-day summit on Monday.

“After Russia’s attack on Ukraine, we saw what can happen when Europe stands united. With a view to the summit tomorrow, let’s hope it continues like this. But it is already starting to crumble and crumble again,” Habeck, who is also deputy chancellor, told reporters in Germany on Sunday.

“Es fängt schon wieder an zu bröseln und zu bröckeln.”

Inflation Tax 101

Thanks for the warning, German central bank, one of the main culprits behind the problem you’re warning about.

Germans are suffering large cuts in real pay, Bundesbank report says – Workers in Germany are experiencing large cuts in their purchasing power as modest pay rises fail to keep up with record-high inflation, the country’s central bank said in a report on Monday.

It’s an age-old dirty trick. The EU, the central banks and the German government itself are pursuing policies that magically generate more tax revenue without openly raising taxes. If prices go up 10%, say, the tax receipts increase 10% too. Inflation also reduces government debt (if they borrowed 1000 but only have to pay back 900 in real terms). But thanks for the warning. That’s very considerate of you.

The Name That Shall Not Be Spoken

Or at least classified as a “green investment.”

It starts with a “nu” and ends with a “clear” but you didn’t hear that from me because the Green Brain Police here in Germany demand strict adherence to the ideological tenets of environmental dogma. Or something along those lines.

Germany to reject EU green investment label for nuclear power – Germany will oppose European Union plans to include nuclear energy as a sustainable investment in its “taxonomy” policy for labelling green investments, the government said on Monday.

Brussels is seeking approval from EU countries and European Parliament for its plan to label gas and nuclear as climate-friendly investments, which has split opinion among states who disagree on the fuels’ green credentials.

“The Federal Government has expressed its opposition to the taxonomy rules on nuclear power. This ‘no’ is an important political signal that makes clear: Nuclear energy is not sustainable and should therefore not be part of the taxonomy.”

German Of The Day: Bremser

That means brakeman or somebody who drags his feet and won’t get with the plan.

Germany, a world-class Bremser, has now dropped its opposition to an EU ban on Russian oil because, well, 1) they want to improve their image of being a Bremser and 2) they know that this ban won’t happen anyway because Hungary and Slovakia, being even more dependent upon Russian oil than Germany is (which is saying a lot), are being even bigger Bremser than the German Bremser is and for the ban to take place, all 27 EU countries must agree to it.

Two senior ministers in Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s government on Monday said Germany would be ready to back an immediate European Union ban on Russian oil imports, and that Europe’s biggest economy could weather shortages and price hikes.

Is This The Beginning Of The End?

Or the end of the beginning? Or just the start of the next big ugly mess – once Putin turns the gas off.

Germany: G7 rejects Russia’s demand to pay for gas in rubles – The Group of Seven major economies have agreed to reject Moscow’s demand to pay for Russian natural gas exports in rubles.

Payment in ruble is not acceptable, and we will urge the companies affected not to follow (Russian President Vladimir) Putin’s demand.”

Well, We’ve All Been Wanting To Lose Weight Anyway

Always look on the bright side of Russian invasions – of one of the world’s top wheat exporters.

Germany to host G7 meeting on Ukraine invasion’s impact on food security – Germany will host a virtual meeting of agricultural ministers from G7 countries on Friday to discuss the impact of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on global food security and how to best stabilize food markets, the government said.

“The provision of foodstuffs in Germany and the European Union is safe but greater shortages can be expected in some countries outside the EU – especially where scarcity already reigns today due to issues like drought,” German Agriculture Minister Cem Oezdemir said in statement.

“Price hikes for agricultural products cannot be excluded in industrialized nations either.”

Yacht To Have Docked It Someplace Else

That oligarch was really cruising for a bruising. Take a bow, Germany. Looks like there will be a sail on megayachts in Hamburg soon…

European authorities seize oligarch’s megayacht in German port – Authorities in Germany have seized Russian oligarch Alisher Usmanov’s 500-foot megayacht, the Dilbar, as part of the package of sanctions against the Kremlin and its supporters, Forbes magazine reported.

The ship was taken by authorities in the north German port of Hamburg on Wednesday. The megayacht is estimated to be worth $600 million.

Tough As Nails

Or as Jell-O, at least. Here’s the latest “Money Makes The World Go Around” going around in Germany (some still refer to it as “the EU”).

Cutting off Russia from the SWIFT global interbank payment system should not be part of the second EU sanctions package against Russia that EU leaders will decide upon at a meeting on Thursday in Brussels, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said.

He’s right, of course. Doing that would be one of the only things that would actually hurt Putin & Co. and that would be counterproductive.

Die Swift-Keule kommt nicht zum Einsatz.

The Eurozone Doesn’t Work Now With It’s Current Member States

I know, the EU’s bureaucratic hive mind says, let’s add another broke country to see how that doesn’t work then either.

Concerns Rise as Bulgaria Prepares to Join the Euro – Bulgaria has significant problems with corruption and money laundering. Nevertheless, the European Union is prepared to accept the country as the next member of the eurozone. Many fear that might be a bad idea.