Tag Archives: Chancellor Angela Merkel

Merkel Makes Case for European Unity in Baltic Campaign Stop

By Vince S.

Chancellor Angela Merkel pledged to keep Europe whole as she presses the euro area to become as competitive as Germany, honing her campaign message at a seaside rally in her home district two months before federal elections. Addressing a sun-drenched rally of her Christian Democratic Union in the Baltic Sea resort town of Zingst […]

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Gold To Shine Again As Global Growth Thaws Commodities

By Stephen Leeb, Contributor

Don’t let depressed commodity prices fool you. They won’t stay depressed too long. The single most important global economic reality remains resource scarcity. At last, I see short-term commodity price depressants starting to dissipate. Very shortly, the overwhelming consensus against commodities will start to shift, possibly as early as yearend. Then the long-term upward climb of commodities will resume. Commodities slid mainly due to Europe’s fixation on austerity. They began to fall in 2011 at about the time the European Union started to falter. The euro zone hasn’t posted a single quarter of GDP growth since mid-2011. Overall regional unemployment stands well into the double digits, while auto sales hit generational lows. Even Germany, Europe’s economic powerhouse, is barely growing. Weaker economies, including Spain and Greece, sit mired in full-fledged depressions. As Europe represents the largest economic entity in this deeply interconnected world, its swoon instigated a sharp drop in global growth and therefore in demand for commodities. Now Europe shows signs of starting to recover, albeit very slowly. Forward-looking indicators including the Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) surveys have gradually risen over the past year. Though the rise has been very slightly sloped, its persistence suggests that Europe, while hardly ready to boom, will soon start generating at least marginal positive growth. These glimmers of growth come as Europe’s leaders increasingly realize that austerity is a dangerous economic recipe. Chancellor Angela Merkel’s likely reelection in September and the growing danger of social unrest in Spain and Greece will spur more growth-oriented policies. Whether Europe grows at 1% or 1.5%, it will grow, and any improvement in this massive economy will alter worldwide economic dynamics for the better. One upshot will be commodities’ emergence from the doghouse. As that happens, I expect gold to start to outperform. On balance, precious metals, base metals, and oil alike tend to move in the same direction. During overall periods of rising commodity prices, precious metals outperform all the others. In commodity price slumps, precious metals tend to underperform. Since their 2011 peaks, both gold and silver have underperformed other commodities. From their highs, you can see weakness especially in commodities ETFs that track the precious metals markets.  SPDR Gold Trust (GLD) fell nearly 33% since its September 2011 high, and iShares Silver Trust (SLV), tracking silver, declined almost 60%. The price of oil, on the other hand, strong of late, stands roughly level with that of two years ago. Since oil ETFs like USO and OIL tend to have a negative bias, however, I don’t recommend them. If you have a futures account, you might want to buy long-dated oil futures, expiring at year end in 2014. In 2008, by contrast, gold outperformed, although silver did uncharacteristically underperform. The same was true in the 1970s. When commodities rose, gold climbed much faster, but mid-decade when commodities faltered, the 50% plunge in the price of gold far exceeded the decline of virtually any other commodity. Gold’s outperformance during periods of rising commodity prices is consistent …read more

Source: FULL ARTICLE at Forbes Latest

Russia wants to exchange spies jailed in Germany

Moscow wants to exchange a married couple of Russian spies jailed this month in Germany for at least one convict jailed in Russia on charges of spying for the West, a report said Monday.

Russia’s Kommersant newspaper said that the Russian secret services wanted to bring the pair — known only by their code names Andreas and Heidrun Anschlag — back home to Russia after decades as “sleepers” in Germany.

In a Cold War-style exchange, Moscow would simultaneously hand over to the West at least one spy convicted of passing secrets to Berlin or its allies, the paper said.

“The process of consultations (with Germany) on a possible exchange was started only recently, after their conviction” on July 2, a Russian security source told the paper.

“We will get our guys out of there,” the source added.

Another source told the paper that Moscow had waited until after the trial was over to seek the exchange, in case the legal process shed further light on how their cover had been blown.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov denied to the paper that any exchange had been discussed at talks in June between President Vladimir Putin and Chancellor Angela Merkel.

The man known as Andreas Anschlag was jailed for six and a half years and Heidrun Anschlag for five and a half years by the higher regional court in the southwestern city of Stuttgart.

The pair were planted in the former West Germany from 1988 by the Soviet Union’s KGB secret service and later worked for its successor the SVR, the court heard.

Kommersant said that the jailed couple’s lawyer Horst-Dieter Petschke confirmed that the swap was expected and told the paper that the exchange could “happen at any moment”.

It said that possible candidates to be freed in Russia in such an exchange included Andrei Dumenkov, who was jailed in 2006 for 12 years for seeking to hand Germany data on Russian missile designs.

Another name citied is Valery Mikhailov, a former colonel in the Russian security service who was jailed in 2012 for 18 years for spying for the United States.

Such spy exchanges, familiar from the Cold War era and John le Carre novels, already have a precedent in post-Soviet Russian history.

In 2010, Russia and the United States agreed a sensational spy swap of 10 Russian “sleeper” agents caught in the United States for four men convicted in Russia of spying for the West.

The 10 Russian spies — including the glamourous female agent Anna Chapman — were brought back to Moscow and subsequently personally welcomed by Putin.

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Source: FULL ARTICLE at Fox World News

Germany offers troops for Afghan training mission

Germany has offered to provide 600-800 soldiers for a NATO training mission in Afghanistan after U.S. and other foreign combat troops leave the country by the end of next year.

Defense Minister Thomas de Maiziere said the German troops would likely be stationed in Kabul and the northern city of Mazar-i-Sharif for a two-year period starting in 2015.

The final decision must be taken by the next German government following national elections in September, but polls show Chancellor Angela Merkel‘s center-right coalition will be the likely winner.

Germany currently has about 4,170 troops in Afghanistan, mostly in the north.

The U.S. is expected to keep between 9,000 and 10,000 in Afghanistan as a residual force after 2014, but no final decision has been made.

From: http://feeds.foxnews.com/~r/foxnews/world/~3/dCZai9ul4kc/

German lawmakers reject boardroom quota for women

The German Parliament has rejected an attempt to introduce a quota for women on companies’ boards of directors — defusing for now a divisive issue for Chancellor Angela Merkel‘s government.

Merkel’s center-right coalition has long been at odds over whether to introduce a fixed quota and there are divisions within Merkel’s conservative party, too. With elections coming in September, the opposition hoped to exploit that with a vote on a proposal to introduce a 20 percent minimum for women on publicly traded companies’ boards in 2018, rising to 40 percent in 2023.

Merkel’s party scrambled to avoid an embarrassing rebellion, agreeing to pledge in its election manifesto a 30 percent quota from 2020. On Thursday, lawmakers rejected the opposition proposal by a 320-277 margin, with one abstention.

From: http://feeds.foxnews.com/~r/foxnews/world/~3/bjZR6F-Kw4s/

German Parliament approves Cyprus aid package

The German Parliament has approved a 10 billion euros ($13 billion) rescue package for Cyprus by a wide margin.

Lawmakers voted 487-102 on Thursday in favor of the bailout deal hammered out last month. Thirteen abstained.

Cyprus will receive 10 billion euros in loans after its bloated banking sector threatened to destroy the economy.

Germany, Europe‘s biggest economy, insisted on those holding large deposits in Cyprus‘ biggest banks to contribute to the rescue. That position was shared by the German opposition.

All the rescue agreements involving euro countries need approval from the German Parliament.

Although some in Chancellor Angela Merkel‘s center-right coalition are uneasy about bailouts, the main opposition parties so far have supported them.

From: http://feeds.foxnews.com/~r/foxnews/world/~3/_v7zy4BcJ-k/

Anti-euro party a wildcard in German elections

It’s a spectacle that Germans are getting tired of: southern European protesters burning their flags and waving placards comparing Chancellor Angela Merkel to Nazi leader Adolf Hitler, all in reaction to Berlin‘s insistence on reforms and austerity in return for bailout funds.

And it’s enough to make people like Berlin businessman Horst Freiberg, who never felt much love for the euro currency, pine more than ever for the return of the German mark.

“I’d immediately vote for a party that wants to abolish the euro,” said Freiberg, who has run a small business selling ink stamps in central Berlin for more than 40 years. “How can you have one currency with banana republics like Cyprus and Greece? And they always accuse us of being Nazis. It’s sick.”

Such sentiments are still the exception in Germany, where a sense of obligation to help fellow Europeans in distress is rooted in shame for the crimes of the Third Reich. But a new political party hopes to capitalize on simmering fears that the euro crisis could deepen and drag down Europe‘s biggest economy. It aims to garner enough votes from people like Freiberg in September elections to reach the 5 percent minimum needed for seats in Parliament.

Called Alternative for Germany, the main goal of the party founded by academics and economists is the “orderly dissolution” of the euro, said Frauke Petry, a business owner and party spokeswoman. The stance puts the party in sharp opposition to Merkel’s insistence that there can be no Europe without the preservation of the single currency, repeatedly saying “if the euro fails, Europe will fail.” While still a fledgling movement, the new party could hurt Merkel by sapping support from her main coalition partner — which she has relied on for a stable government.

“For us the euro is at the heart of many problems,” Petry told The Associated Press. “The way decisions are being made in Europe right now shows that many democratic mechanisms don’t work anymore,” she said. Alternative for Germany wants to introduce Swiss-style national referendums so voters can have a say on important matters — including economic rescue packages.

For all the talk about what they don’t like, however, the party has been short on what they do like and its leaders were slammed in an editorial this week in the top-selling Bild newspaper as “political amateurs.”

The conservative tabloid has never shied away from accusing southern Europeans of

From: http://feeds.foxnews.com/~r/foxnews/world/~3/Z2LABZ2M5PI/

Cameron in Germany for talks on European reform

Britain’s prime minister has arrived for a two-day visit in Germany where he will meet with Chancellor Angela Merkel to discuss European reform.

David Cameron has offered a referendum on whether to leave the European Union if his party wins the next election. Despite his plans to renegotiate Britain’s relationship with the EU, which are viewed with skepticism in Berlin, Merkel spokesman Steffen Seibert praised the two leaders’ strong relationship, “which matches the close friendship and partnership with Great Britain.”

Cameron, accompanied by his wife and children, is expected to discuss “all aspects” of European reform, along with the upcoming Group of Eight summit in Ireland and the conflict in Syria, according to Downing Street.

The Camerons will stay Friday and Saturday at government guest house Merseberg near Berlin.

From: http://feeds.foxnews.com/~r/foxnews/world/~3/4vAC4hOF-ho/

Poll: Germans back Merkel's crisis management

A new poll points to wide approval among Germans for Chancellor Angela Merkel‘s crisis management following a bailout deal for Cyprus. It also shows Merkel’s personal popularity riding high ahead of elections in September.

Merkel’s hard-nosed handling of the debt crisis has long been popular at home, though some in her center-right coalition have voiced unease about rescuing struggling eurozone countries and many in those nations resent the conditions attached.

The poll of 1,002 people for ARD television, conducted Tuesday and Wednesday, found 65 percent agreed that Merkel has “acted correctly and decisively in the euro crisis.” Fifty percent said it was right that investors and savers in Cyprus had to contribute to the bailout.

The poll gave a margin of error of plus or minus up to 3.1 points.

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Source: FULL ARTICLE at Fox World News

Germans get rare glimpse of Merkel's family life

Germans — and the rest of Europe — have had a rare glimpse of Chancellor Angela Merkel‘s family life after the country’s biggest-selling paper published photos of her on vacation in Italy.

Politicians’ private lives traditionally have been off-limits in Germany but the media’s reticence has eroded in recent years, in part due to the Internet.

Photos published by Bild on Wednesday show Merkel playing with her stepson’s children on the island of Ischia.

Less-flattering pictures of Merkel in her swimsuit largely haven’t made the German papers, but were published in other European countries.

Merkel’s spokesman Georg Streiter described all the photos as “paparazzo” shots and indicated that the leader of Europe‘s biggest economy wasn’t too happy about having “lenses pointed at you from all angles when you’re on vacation.”

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Source: FULL ARTICLE at Fox World News

2 states challenge German redistribution system

Two wealthy German states have filed a lawsuit in the country’s highest court challenging a system under which money is redistributed to less prosperous regions.

Bavaria’s state government said it and the state of Hesse filed the suit Monday with the Federal Constitutional Court. They say the system needs to be adjusted because only three of Germany‘s 16 states are now paying into the system while the other 13 receive payments.

Bavaria and Hesse are both run by Chancellor Angela Merkel‘s center-right coalition and both hold regional elections in September, when Germany also will elect a new federal Parliament. The third contributor state, opposition-run Baden-Wuerttemberg, didn’t join the lawsuit.

Some 7.9 billion euros ($10.3 billion) were redistributed last year.

The system is supposed to help ensure equal living conditions nationwide.

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Source: FULL ARTICLE at Fox World News

German utility Eon posts FY profit of ?2.64B

German utility Eon says it made €2.64 billion ($3.4 billion) in net profit last year as the company left behind the expense of Germany‘s exit from nuclear power.

The company showed a loss of €1.86 billion for 2011 after Chancellor Angela Merkel‘s government decided in the wake of Japan‘s nuclear disaster to immediately shut down eight of Germany‘s 17 nuclear reactors and phase out the rest earlier than planned. Eon took a large hit to earnings from shutdown expenses.

The company also credited sales growth in emerging markets Turkey, Russia and Brazil and ongoing cost cutting. Still, the company’s electricity business has lagged, with sales flat and weak demand in recession-hit Europe.

The company’s 2012 sales revenues rose 5 percent to €132.1 billion.

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Source: FULL ARTICLE at Fox World News

Merkel party loses mayor's job in state capital

Germany‘s opposition has ousted Chancellor Angela Merkel‘s party from the mayor’s office in the capital of a traditional battleground state — a blow ahead of national elections in September.

Center-left Social Democrat Sven Gerich won election in the western city of Wiesbaden in a runoff ballot Sunday with 50.8 percent of the vote, defeating incumbent Helmut Mueller of Merkel’s conservative Christian Democrats.

Wiesbaden is the capital of Hesse state. Merkel’s party has run the state, which has swung between left and right over the decades, since 1999, and hopes to extend that run in a state election Sept. 22 — the same day Germany elects a new Parliament.

The result extends a run of poor results in major cities for Merkel’s party, which lost Frankfurt and Stuttgart last year.

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Source: FULL ARTICLE at Fox World News

German vice chancellor tries to rally party

Germany’s vice chancellor is trying to rally his struggling pro-market party as it gears up for September elections — portraying it as the only political force that will prevent tax hikes and a staunch defender of Berlin‘s tough approach to the European debt crisis.

Polls show Philipp Roesler’s Free Democratic Party short of the 5 percent support needed to win parliamentary seats — a complicating factor in conservative Chancellor Angela Merkel‘s quest for a third term. But Roesler, who long looked likely to lose his job as party leader, has been strengthened by an unexpectedly strong performance in a January state election.

Roesler is running unopposed for re-election as leader at a convention Saturday. He said: “if we stand together, if we stick to our guns, we will be successful.”

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German opposition launches minimum-wage drive

The German Parliament’s upper house has voted to introduce a mandatory national minimum wage, a challenge by the country’s opposition to Chancellor Angela Merkel‘s government ahead of elections in September.

Opposition parties gained a majority in the upper house, which represents Germany‘s 16 states, when the center-left Social Democrats and Greens ousted Merkel’s conservative-led coalition from government in Lower Saxony state in January.

That gives them a chance to put pressure on Merkel and showcase plans for Germany, which holds national elections Sept. 22, by sending policy initiatives to the government-controlled lower house, which will likely reject them. The upper house voted Friday to introduce an across-the-board national minimum wage of €8.50 ($11.15) per hour.

Merkel’s coalition is divided on whether to introduce some kind of minimum wage.

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Source: FULL ARTICLE at Fox World News

German education minister quits in plagiarism case

Germany’s education minister has resigned after a university decided to withdraw her doctorate, finding that she plagiarized parts of her thesis — an embarrassment for Chancellor Angela Merkel‘s government months before national elections.

Merkel said Saturday that she had accepted minister Annette Schavan‘s resignation “with a very heavy heart.”

On Tuesday, Duesseldorf’s Heinrich Heine University decided to revoke Schavan’s doctorate following a review of her 1980 thesis, which dealt with the formation of conscience. The review was undertaken after an anonymous blogger last year raised plagiarism allegations, which the minister has denied.

Schavan’s resignation comes two years after then-Defense Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg lost his doctorate and quit when it emerged that he copied large parts of his doctoral thesis.

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Source: FULL ARTICLE at Fox World News

German national election set for Sept. 22

Germany‘s president has confirmed Sept. 22 as the date for the country’s parliamentary election, in which conservative Chancellor Angela Merkel will seek a third term.

President Joachim Gauck‘s office said he approved on Friday the government‘s proposal for voting on that date.

Merkel has led Germany, which has Europe‘s biggest economy, since 2005.

She governed for the first four years in “grand coalition” of Germany‘s biggest parties, her conservative Christian Democrats and the center-left Social Democrats. In 2009, she won a majority for her preferred center-right alliance with the pro-market Free Democrats.

Merkel remains popular with voters and is favored to win another four-year term, but recent polls show a majority neither for her current coalition nor for a rival center-left alliance of the Social Democrats and Greens.

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Source: FULL ARTICLE at Fox World News

Germany warns of 'consequences' for Hezbollah

Germany has warned of “consequences” for Hezbollah if allegations the group was behind an attack that killed five Israeli tourists in Bulgaria last year are confirmed.

Bulgarian officials said Tuesday that the Lebanese group had been linked to the sophisticated bombing carried out by a terrorist cell that included Canadian and Australian citizens.

The announcement put pressure on countries such as France and Germany, which haven’t banned Hezbollah despite the urgings of Israel and the United States.

Steffen Seibert, a spokesman for Chancellor Angela Merkel, said Wednesday that “if the evidence proves to be true that Hezbollah is indeed responsible for this despicable attack then consequences will have to follow.”

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Source: FULL ARTICLE at Fox World News

Germany gov't wants general election Sept. 22

The German government has proposed holding the country’s general election on Sept. 22.

A spokesman for Chancellor Angela Merkel said Wednesday that the date has been formally submitted to President Joachim Gauck. His approval is considered a formality.

Merkel will be seeking a third term as chancellor of Europe‘s biggest economy.

Recent polls put Merkel’s center-right coalition slightly ahead of the main opposition bloc of Social Democrats and Greens.

But despite Merkel’s personal popularity among voters, observers say she may have to enter into a “grand coalition” with the Social Democrats if her current junior partners of the pro-business Free Democrats fail to make the 5 percent threshold needed to enter Parliament.

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Source: FULL ARTICLE at Fox World News