Border Patrol German-Style

German marines have rescued 200 (now over 400) refugees shortly after launching two ships to scour waters between Africa and Europe.

Border Patrol

The ship “Hessen” evacuated the boat in distress about 250 kilometers south of the Italian island Lampedusa. The refugees were brought to an Italian port, the German army said after discussions with Italian marine rescue officials.

The “Hessen,” along with the “Berlin,” also a Bundeswehr ship, were warned of a refugee distress situation on Monday morning. The ships had begun their search mission on Tuesday, when they sailed from Crete towards the sea area between Libya and Italy.

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This Just In: Germany Suddenly Owes Greece $305 Billion For World War II

Or at least that’s what the Greek parliament just figured out.

Reparations

However, Italy also suddenly owes Greece $216 billion for its invasion in 1940, too, they said.

After that you’ve got the Ottoman Empire owing the Greeks $197 billion for, well, for being Turks.

Then the Roman Empire will also still need to shell out an additional $116 billion for those nasty Macedonian wars.

And then, of course, Iran will have to step up and pay Greece $97 billion for the ugly Persian Invasion back in 484 BC.

This will still leave Greece with a humungous debt, of course, the parliamentarians noted, but nothing that another little loan from their friends in the European Union won’t fix.

To Russia With Love

I mean with debt. Go with God, Greece, but go (to Russia for more dough). I’m sure they’ll make you an offer you can’t refuse.

Russia

Greece’s energy minister is visiting Russia today after calling for a confrontation with a “Germanised Europe” in the country’s stalling bailout negotiations.

The visit comes less than a fortnight before Greek prime minister Alexis Tsipras is due to visit Russian president Vladimir Putin, the date of which was reportedly brought forward because of Greece’s financial disputes with the European Union.

“Today, it becomes even more evident to me that the pathway of the country away from the crisis goes through tough confrontation, if not collision, with the Germanized Europe.”

It’s Not That We’re Too Strong

The rest of you guys out there in Europe are just too weak. Like start doing more push-ups or something.

Germany

German dominance is in part a consequence of others’ retreat. That may be why complaints have been muted. “If the Italians don’t bring pasta and the French don’t bring pâté,” says a diplomat, “you can’t complain about Mrs Merkel’s cabbage soup.

PS: And speaking of getting stronger, you folks over at the FDP should learn to smile a little already. Polls indicate that you’re back over that magical 5 percent line and could get back in the saddle again – if elections were to be held today.

Discountrepublik Deutschland

Verblüffender Befund (an amazing finding)? I don’t see how it could amaze anyone here – anyone who has ever gone shopping in Germany and then compared those prices to those you would pay in other European countries, that is.

Prices

Germans apparently aren’t aware of the fact that they have some of the lowest Lebenshaltungskosten (living costs or cost of living) in all of Europe. Of their immediate neighbors, it’s only cheaper to live in Poland and Czechia.

What is really amazing I find, however, is the fact that the Germans are able to enjoy these cheap prices while still having a higher per capita GDP than a lot of the European countries with a higher cost of living (Belgium, Denmark, France).

Beats the hell out of me. Hey, es darf eben nichts kosten here.

Verbraucher in Deutschland bekommen für ihren Euro mehr als die Menschen in den Nachbarländern. Lediglich bei den Nachbarn in Polen und Tschechien sind die Lebenshaltungskosten niedriger.

Germany’s Crappy Eurovision Song Not Given The Votes It Deserved

Denmark’s Loreen and 19 others sang crappy songs that took in way more votes.

Eurovision

Böse Zungen (malicious tongues) have even suggested that Germany’s crappy Eurovision showing last night might not be entirely the fault of its crappy Cascada entry.

“We are in a difficult situation,” Thomas Schreiber from the ARD TV über-network said. “This is clearly a political situation.”

It wasn’t like Angela Merkel was singing (she might have actually won), but “you also have to see that it wasn’t just Cascada up there, Germany was on stage, too.”

Der ARD-Unterhaltungschef deutet ein Imageproblem in Europa an: “Da stand auch Deutschland auf der Bühne.”

PS: It wasn’t all bad news for Germany this weekend, however. Justin Bieber’s monkey will now become a German citizen.

Sure Is Cold In Here

Cold

The issues at stake are not trivial ones. At the core of the Franco-German conflict is no less a matter than the question of how Europe can shake off the current crisis. Merkel is convinced this can only be achieved by implementing reforms — austerity, liberalization of the labor market and restructuring of social welfare systems.

But Hollande is unwilling to let Germany impose its model on France. He fears the European recession will only worsen if Berlin succeeds in implementing its austerity plans.

Even in the euro crisis, Germany is reluctant to be seen as sole leader. It badly needs a French economic revival to have a plausible partner at the top again.

“This is why, ultimately, it does not matter whether they like each other—that has not been the case for years.”

Germany Honestly Not Seeking Hegemony In Europe I Swear

German Chancellor Angela Merkel rejected again today claims that her country was seeking hegemony in the European Union.

Hegemony

“We already are the largest economy in Europe,” she might have said. “Like, by a long shot. So why on earth would we want to do that? All we want to do is just keep exercising our predominant influence over all those other namby-pamby nations around us and with time, through peaceful terms and non-aggression, achieve world, I mean, total European domination.”

“Germany has a sometimes complicated role,” she actually said. “Because we are the largest economy – we are not the richest, but we are the largest. Therefore Germany will only act together with the others – hegemony is totally foreign to me.”

Gold-obsessed German Smuggler Drops Plans To Rob Fort Knox

But gets caught at Athens International Airport attempting to smuggle half a ton of gold and silver out of Greece to Germany instead.

Goldfinger

Wait a second. Aren’t the Germans the ones who are supposed to be smuggling their gold (as in Geld) into Greece these days?

The man was trying to board a Lufthansa flight back to Germany when the airline uncovered nearly 1,000 lbs. of what the BBC calls silver “tablets” in a cargo container.

Germans Tired Of Being Cast As The Euro Zone’s Scapegoats

But once they take a nap and rest a little bit, they won’t be so tired anymore.

Scapegoats

Sometimes Germany was too weak, sometimes too strong. Or, as Henry Kissinger, a former American secretary of state, put it, referring to Germany just after unification in 1871, it was “too big for Europe, but too small for the world”. Today, Mr Simms (Cambridge University) argues, “it sits uneasily at the heart of an EU that was conceived largely to constrain German power but which has served instead to increase it, and whose design flaws have unintentionally deprived many other Europeans of sovereignty.”

The question is whether Germany can use its power by unapologetically leading. Given Germany’s past, its political culture militates against even trying.

“It’s nice to go to a conference of ‘young leaders’, but you don’t want a conference of ‘junge Führer’.”