More Debt Is The New Normal

In Germany too.

Schulden

The govenment might not directly admit it but the days when they at least strove to reach a balanced budget (black zero) are over.

Germany’s spending to counter the coronavirus crisis and modernize its economy means the country shouldn’t return to a balanced budget anytime soon, according to a senior Finance Ministry official…

Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government abandoned its balanced-budget policy this year and is set to borrow about 218 billion euros ($258 billion). A deficit of more than 80 billion euros is set for next year to fight the fallout from the pandemic, people familiar with the matter have said…

Germany’s constitutional debt brake obliges the government to keep debt under control. In good times, the rule allows for a structural deficit of 0.35% of gross domestic product. In times of recession, new borrowing can go up in proportion with the economic decline.

“A balanced budget isn’t obligatory.”

Of All The Words Of Mice And Men

And German chancellors, the saddest are “We can do this!”

Merkel

Just kidding. They’re actually “What the hell were you thinking?”

And if you believe those numbers up there (another state-run agency), you can’t be helped either.

“We can do this!” — Merkel’s famous words five years on – It’s five years to the day since German Chancellor Angela Merkel uttered her famous quote about taking in refugees. Today the numbers show that integration has made progress, though skepticism persists.

Isn’t It The Other Way Around?

Isn’t Europe doomed to be led by Germany?

Germany

Germany is doomed to lead Europe – The EU’s biggest member is in charge, whether Germans like it or not.

Walk into any meeting in Brussels and, most likely, a German will be leading it. In the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, the former German defence minister, is in charge. For the next six months, German ministers will be cajoling their peers into signing off legislation as the country takes over the EU’s rotating presidency. In the European Council, where the bloc’s leaders butt heads, it might technically be Charles Michel, the former prime minister of Belgium, heading it. But it is Angela Merkel—longer in post than the leaders of France, Spain, Italy and Poland combined—who is the undisputed top dog. The EU’s main response to the covid-19 crisis—a flagship €750bn recovery fund paid for with debt issued collectively by the EU—is based on a plan cooked up in Berlin and Paris. The Germans are running the show.

How did Henry Kissinger put it? “Poor old Germany. Too big for Europe, too small for the world.”

PS: German oddity 5. Young adults in Germany have never known another chancellor other than Angela Merkel. She has been in office since 2005.

“Collective Response?”

Most likely, if it’s directed against US-Amerika everybody jumps on board.

Germany

Germany Weighs Measures Against U.S. Over Nord Stream Threat – The 1,200-kilometer (745 mile) pipeline under the Baltic Sea, designed to pump Russian gas directly to Germany, has triggered deep division between EU member states. But the prospect of a direct U.S. intervention in the 27-member bloc’s energy interests should prompt a collective response, said the officials, who asked not to be identified.

“The government is called upon to develop and put forward proposals for a measured, clear reaction on behalf of Germany and the European Union.”

This Is The Real Problem

Not Donald Trump withdrawing American troops.

Germany

The Germans want a free ride and they’re offended at having finally been caught.

The Sorry State of Germany’s Armed Forces – Trump’s calls to withdraw U.S. troops from the country are impulsive, but Germany isn’t blameless.

The German armed forces are in a sorry state, and that’s not because Germany, more important to NATO’s efficacy as a collective defense pact than any other European member state, lacks the means to fix this problem. It does not.

Germany’s gross domestic product, valued at $4 trillion, ranks fourth in the world and first in Europe. The country is also Europe’s technological powerhouse. Indeed, in 2018, the World Economic Forum hailed it as the world’s leader in technological innovation.

And yet the German military remains riddled with problems. A damning 2019 report (available in an English-language summary) issued by the Bundestag’s then commissioner for the armed forces, Hans-Peter Bartels, summed up the problem.

PS: Please note here that the woman who ran the Bundeswehr for years and years and proved to be unable to fix it is now the woman EU technocrats (voters weren’t asked) have chosen to fix Europe.

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%.

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.

I Got Your Quantitative Easing For You Right Here, Pal

Imagine that. A nation state (member state) ought to have a say in how its money is spent. What a radical new concept.

Court

Germany’s top court has ruled that the European Central Bank’s mass bond-buying to stabilise the eurozone partly violates the German constitution.

The ruling relates to government debt worth €2.1 trillion (£2tn; $2.3tn) bought by the ECB since 2015, but not purchases in the coronavirus crisis.

The Constitutional Court in Karlsruhe says there is not enough German political oversight in the purchases…

The plaintiffs are a group of German academics, including a former leader of the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD), Bernd Lucke. They argue that the purchases violate the EU ban on one eurozone member subsidising the debts of another.

It is now up to the ECB to explain how its mass bond-buying programme is “proportionate”. The Bundesbank could pull out if it is not satisfied, in three months’ time – which would be a big blow to the eurozone.