News Bites

Chancellor Merkel pledged financial aid for border control to Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte as he visited Berlin, but she demanded solidarity on EU immigration policy in return. (dpa)

The number of migrants crossing the outer border of the EU illegally dropped by more than half in May, the Frontex border control reported. Illegal entries were down 56% in the month to 12,100. (Reuters)

German cellular services provider Freenet said it’s willing to sell its 24.6% investment in Swiss rival Sunrise Communications. The stake was to help the company reduce its dependence on Germany. (Reuters)

Interior Minister Horst Seehofer has agreed to give Chancellor Angela Merkel until July 1 to reach a solution on immigration with other European countries, ending a contentious stand-off that threatened Germany’s governing coalition.

Iranian President Hassan Rowhani will visit Vienna on July 4, his first trip to western Europe in more than two years. The politician is hoping Europe will keep its part of the nuclear agreement abandoned by President Trump.

The number of asylum applications in Germany plummeted 70% last year to 222,560, according to the Easo European asylum authority. Europe-wide the number dropped by 44%. Germany had the most applications followed by Italy and France.

Germany’s 110 public health insurers had €416 million in profit in the first quarter as income rose 2.6% and costs increased 2.5%. The profit is less than the €612 million in the first quarter of 2016 but will prohibit rate increases.

Bram Schot, the head of sales and marketing at Audi, is to become the company’ interim CEO. Audi CEO Rupert Stadler was arrested and denied bail on Monday morning as part of Dieselgate investigations.

German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier is on a three-day US trip to open the Thomas Mann house in Los Angeles. The German author lived there in exile during the 1940s. The government bought the house in 2016.

The Green party would consider a coalition with the center-left SPD and Chancellor Merkel’s conservative CDU if a tiff over asylum sparked the exodus of the CSU, the CDU’s sister, Greens co-chief Annalena Baerbock said.

Interior Minister Horst Seehofer wants to bar asylum seekers from entering Germany if they lack permission to re-enter the country. He will refrain from taking further steps against refugees until after an EU summit to compromise in an asylum spat with Chancellor Merkel.

The celebration when Mexico scored the only goal in Sunday evening’s match against Germany appeared on seismological equipment as a minor earthquake in Mexico City, according to the SIMMSA seismological organization.

Germany’s central bank, the Bundesbank, is against a Federal Reserve suggestion to increase inflation targets to more than 2% to provide more regulatory leeway. Financial markets can lose control of inflation, the bank said.

A Munich judge denied Audi CEO Rupert Stadler bail out of fears he may destroy evidence. He is the highest-ranking executive arrested in an ongoing investigation of emissions cheating equipment on diesel cars.

The German soccer association cancelled a Monday press conference with the national team after a surpise 0-1 loss to Mexico in the World Cup on Sunday. (Der Spiegel)

An alleged refugee from Afghanistan went on trial for murder on Monday, accused of stabbing his 15-year-old girlfriend to death in a drugstore in Kandel in December. Authorities are unsure of the suspect’s age.

Rupert Stadler, the CEO of VW’s Audi luxury division, was arrested Monday morning, according to a VW spokesman. The CEO has become a central figure in Dieselgate investigations in Germany.

Lufthansa is in talks to buy discount rival Norwegian to benefit from Norwegian’s experience in discount, long-haul flights. Norwegian is 4% owned by British Airways parent IAG after an approach failed over price. (Süddeutsche Zeitung)

Hamburg biotech Evotec will take over and further develop the infectious disease unit of French rival Sanofi. Evotec will get €60 million from Sanofi and in return give Sanofi the right to medicines developed from the move.

Both the CDU and CSU are meeting today to discuss an immigration battle between Chancellor Merkel and Interior Minister Seehofer. Ms. Merkel’s CDU will hold a press conference at 2 p.m. Berlin time.

Supermarket chain Rewe Sunday removed a tweet criticized as insensitive. Prior to the Mexico-Germany match, the company tweeted, “Watch the Mexicans warm up? You can also watch them in the oven.” It then linked to a Mexican pizza.

Warm weather made Germany’s national delicacy, white asparagus, cheaper during the week of Pentecost than it’s been for four years.  At an average cost of just under €6 per kilogram, Spargel was cheaper in 2018 than in 2017, according to the agricultural information society.

No defending European World Cup holder has made it past the group stage since 1998. France, Italy and Spain all choked when trying to defend their title. Cup-holder (and non-European) Brazil advanced in 2006.

Environment Minister Svenja Schulze will convene a meeting with representatives of energy-intensive business sectors in early July to discuss a new plan for curbing CO2 emissions. Germany has admitted it will miss its CO2 goals for 2020.

Finance ministers Olaf Scholz of Germany and Bruno le Maire of France achieved “real progress” on EU reforms in Hamburg over the weekend, according to EU sources. German business lobbies warned against more cross-border fiscal guarantees.

Just over half of German companies operating in the United States plan new investments and hiring because of US corporate tax reforms passed late last year, according to an AHK survey. (WirtschaftsWoche)

Interior Minister Horst Seehofer reportedly told CSU party officials that “I can no longer work with that woman” in reference to Angela Merkel, as a standoff over asylum policy continued. (Welt am Sonntag)

Employer association BDA in a new position paper said artificial intelligence offers “enormous opportunities” for companies and workers in Germany. It cautioned Berlin not to curb progress over future-of-work concerns.

Hans-Eckhard Sommer, an official from Bavaria’s interior ministry, will reportedly take over as head of Germany’s refugee agency BAMF. Interior Minister Horst Seehofer fired BAMF’s current head Jutta Cordt on Friday over an ongoing asylum scandal.

Austrian real-estate investor René Benko will acquire furniture chain Kika/Leiner from its bankrupt parent Steinhoff for €550 million plus €100 million in debt.

Bavaria’s CSU is likely to give Angela Merkel more time to reach a European solution to the refugee crisis, the CSU’s deputy party head said, temporarily setting aside a crisis that had threatened to topple the German chancellor.

Canadian investment bank RBC Capital Markets plans to double its Frankfurt staff to 40 peiple, turning the bureau into a European hub in light of Brexit.

If elections were held today, Germany’s “grand coalition” would fail to get a majority. Christian Democrats would win 30 percent and the Social Democrats 16 percent, according to a Forsa poll.

asylum impasse

Migrant crisis sets Merkel a Herculean diplomatic task

With the migrant crisis stoking tensions in the EU and within her government, Angela Merkel has two weeks to broker complicated compromises. Without a deal, her days as chancellor could be numbered.

News gallery

In case you missed it

Read my lips, a battle with no winners, the loser of the day and a commemoration of survival.

Tech Boom

How to avoid a second dotcom crash

The TecDax, Germany’s main tech stock index, is booming dangerously. A redefinition of the index could help stabilize things, but will it come too late?

Rupert Stadler

Audi CEO arrested over Dieselgate scandal

Prosecutors are hunting their biggest scalp yet in the Dieselgate scandal, arresting Audi CEO Rupert Stadler. The carmaker already has a replacement, Handelsblatt has learned.

Editors’ Pick

Currency birthday

Remembering the D-Mark, the talisman of Germany’s economic miracle

Seventy years ago, the deutsche mark was launched as West Germany's currency and became the symbol of a thriving "social market economy." Four economists give views on how to preserve that prosperity.

Dive In

Russian roulette

German companies stand to lose if the West’s Russian diplomacy fails

Right now, it’s all soccer and smiles, but if the relationship between Russia and the West collapses further, German companies will foot the bill.

Asset-poor

Risk-averse Germans are missing out on global wealth gains

Global wealth surpassed $200 trillion last year and will likely keep growing, a BCG study found. But scaredy-cat Germans are stragglers, preferring to save rather than invest in stock-market opportunities.

german cow, cowsharing, herdshare germany

Meet your meat

Hungry for humane beef, Germany looks to cowsharing

Conscientious carnivores have multiple options for getting in on a herdshare, where a consumer directly buys part of a cow.

Ask a German

Handelsblatt explains

Much about Germany is confusing or surprising to foreigners - and even to Germans. Our editors provide clarity.

new world order

The old world is dying, and Europe must seize the moment

A new era in global affairs has begun, says former German foreign minister Sigmar Gabriel: Germany and Europe must seize the moment.

Hipster horticulture

Schrebergarten culture’s gnomes make way for Zen gardens

The centuries-old German lifestyle around allotment gardens, or schrebergarten, is in flux. Out: old guys with beer bellies and sandals. In: hipsters with high-tech grills.

DAX

Profit and Loss Check

Once a year, we take a critical look at the financial health of selected German blue-chip companies around the time of their annual shareholders' meetings.

Time Presses

Whispers of delaying break with EU circulate as Brexit deadline looms

The EU would be willing to extend the March 2019 deadline, because no one is willing to jeopardize the peace in Northern Ireland, sources in Brussels say.

Taper but no tantrum

Draghi has barbed words for Germany as ECB sets end to asset purchases

ECB President Mario Draghi surprised some by announcing an end to the bank's bond-buying program in 2018, though he plans to leave interest rates unchanged through summer 2019. Now it's up to governments to pick up the slack.

Asylum meltdown

‘Axis’ against Merkel

In a dangerous swipe at Chancellor Angela Merkel, her own interior minister is siding with the Austrian and Italian governments to forge a right-wing “axis of the willing” to curb immigration. Conservative lawmakers threaten with a vote on refugee policy in the Bundestag.

#WorldCupRussia2018

Soccer and the open society

One in three players on the German soccer squad has foreign roots. That's why society has a lot to learn from sports about "integration."

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