Sitting Ducks

Germany relies on European support as trade war looms

Germany would be hardest hit by a trade war with the United States. But the European Union is in charge of trade policy, leaving Berlin dependent on solidarity from its EU partners.

News Bites

The border controls between Germany and Austria should be extended and tightened to keep refugees out, Germany’s new interior minister, Horst Seehofer, told Welt am Sonntag.

An 18-year old asylum seeker from Somalia sustained life-threatening injuries after an unidentified man assaulted him with a knife in Bavaria. Police said on Sunday a racially motivated attack could not be ruled out.

A senior executive with Lufthansa said Berlin’s delayed airport should be “torn down and rebuilt.” The comment has drawn a rebuke from the CEO of the airport, whose opening is currently expected in 2020 — eight years behind schedule.

Volkswagen’s current boss, Matthias Müller, was in the passenger seat in a Porsche involved in a hit-and-run crash in South Africa in 2013, according to police files. Several people were injured in the collision caused by a German Porsche executive. (Bild am Sonntag)

A debate on whether to loosen abortion law in Germany has further escalated after Jens Spahn, the new health minister and a staunch conservative, said pro-choice activists prized the lives of animals more than unborn babies.

British authorities have detained and subsequently deported the founder of PEGIDA, a xenophobic movement based in Dresden. Lutz Bachmann, who lives in Spain, traveled to London to attend a far-right gathering.

Vladimir Putin has won a fourth term as Russia‘s president, as was widely expected and amid reports of irregularities in polling stations. A state exit poll on Sunday evening gave him 73.9% of the vote — far more than at the last election in 2012.

The EU Commission’s list of possible tariff targets in response to Donald Trump includes US motorcycles and corn, and totals €2.8 billion. (Reuters)

Transportation Minister Andreas Scheuer isn’t ruling out a nationwide diesel ban, saying the new government will start serious talks with automakers. (BILD)

German Economics Minister Peter Altmaier will travel to the US next week to talk trade disputes. (ARD)

A Hamburg court ruled a Volkswagen dealership must replace a customer’s diesel car with a new one, saying the software update provided wasn’t enough. (Reuters)

The number of personal bankruptcies in Germany dropped to 94,079 in 2017, down by 6.8% from 2016, credit reporting agency Crifbürgel found. (dpa)

A pizzeria in Berlin set the world record for most cheeses on one pie: 111 varieties, confirmed by a Guinness representative.

Almost three-quarters of Germans don’t want telecoms to provide “fast lanes” for preferred data, a DIVSI study found. The CDU and SPD clearly supported net neutrality in their coalition contract.

Niki Lauda will launch Laudamotion in March. The airline is a successor to the insolvent Niki, taken down in the Air Berlin flameout. Mr. Lauda expects it to be in the black again by the second year. (Reuters)

Markus Söder was formally elected head of the Christian Social Union, the Bavarian sister party of Chancellor Merkel’s Christian Democrats. He replaces Horst Seehofer, Germany’s new interior minister.

Fraport, which runs Frankfurt’s airport, expects up to 68.5 million passengers this year after a record 64.5 million in 2017. Discount flyers are keeping Germany’s busiest airport … busy.

Germany approved the import of 2,100 kilograms of marijuana from September 2017 to March 2018 following last year’s legalization of medical marijuana. It’s a steep climb from just over 1,000 kilograms total approved in the previous decade.

Some 138 incidents of police brutality were investigated following the violent G20 protests in Hamburg last year, with 118 cases referred to prosecutors. So far, 40 protestors have been charged but no police officers. (NDR)

Deutsche Bank employees received a total €2.3 billion in bonuses for 2017 despite a third consecutive year of losses; 50 managers took home more than CEO John Cryan’s €3.4 million salary.

New Interior Minister Horst Seehofer told BILD newspaper Islam “is not a part of Germany,” drawing ire from Chancellor Angela Merkel, who responded that the 4 million Muslims who live here do indeed belong to Germany.

increase the peace

How to stop a trade war

If the EU doesn’t want a trade war, then it should lead by example, argues the head of German Council of Economic Experts.

It's complicated

Will Trump’s tariffs really hurt German car makers?

The German auto industry has got used to Donald Trump making threats against it but with the announcement of steel and aluminum tariffs, things have got serious. Yet there are no signs of panic. That could be telling.

snow ball

Hailing a cocaine cab in Berlin

Germans living in the capital are taking more coke than ever, thanks to the darknet, ocean liners and drug taxis.

Racing cars

Germany’s long, slow and carefully considered attack on Tesla

They have been trailing the US e-car pioneer for years but now VW, Mercedes-Benz and BMW are pumping billions into mass producing their own electric cars. Tesla's German competition will get really serious this year.

Editors’ Pick

German chancellor

Angela Merkel starts fourth term facing hurdles

Angela Merkel was sworn in as chancellor after she was re-elected by a majority of just nine votes in parliament. This could be her toughest term, with stiff challenges at home and abroad.

Dive In

Risky Attractions

Ex-FDIC boss warns of ‘race to the bottom’ on banking regulation

Ten years after Bear Stearns' collapse, Sheila Bair warns that reforms to America's Dodd-Frank banking law are downright dangerous, but could encourage the Europeans to follow suit.

Mammoth listing

Technical glitch and market turmoil overshadow Healthineers IPO

Germany’s biggest IPO in almost two decades — Siemens’ multi-billion-euro listing of its healthcare unit — did not go off without a hitch.

Political divisions

Concern over right-wing publishers at launch of Leipzig’s literary fair

As Germany’s second-biggest literary trade show opens, talk is focused on the five right-wing publishers in attendance.

Global growth

German blue chips post record profits, thanks to Trump and China

DAX-listed companies led by Daimler, VW and Allianz are reporting their best year ever for both sales and profits.

ECB president, mario draghi, Jens Weidmann

Handelsblatt Explains

How Jens Weidmann would change the ECB as its boss

Before the euro, Germany’s Bundesbank essentially controlled monetary policy across Europe. Could those days return with a German in charge of the European Central Bank?

Ask a German

Handelsblatt explains

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

Berlin, take note

High-speed reforms in France

Emmanuel Macron has so far defied expectations that France would prove too resistant to reform for its young president. He has big plans for 2018 but some fear he’s pushing his luck too far.

Lightning visit

Dutch minister beats Macron to the punch on euro advice to Germany

German Finance Minister Olaf Scholz’s first foreign visitor was his Dutch counterpart, who backs Berlin’s slow approach to euro reform. The meeting came one day before Angela Merkel visits Emmanuel Macron.


Rise to power of German ‘Lord of Darkness,’ Martin Selmayr, polarizes Brussels

It’s not quite “House of Cards,” but all Brussels is abuzz about the intimidating power of a German in the European Commission. Handelsblatt’s Brussels correspondent puts the hysteria into perspective.

unfree trade

Trump may have a point about EU tariffs, ifo says

A leading German think tank says Donald Trump is right that tariffs between the United States and Europe are asymmetrical, but urges negotiations to lower import taxes across the board.


Preparedness lags for new EU data privacy laws

Tough new European data protection rules will have a major effect on companies in countries around the world. So why are only Germany and Austria ready?

ECB, euro zone, deposit insurance


Deposit insurance plans and risks, revisited

With Germany’s new government finally in place, the European Commission hopes to make progress on common bank deposit insurance. But Berlin continues to have deep misgivings.

No Ordinary Oma

80-year old CEO ready to pass the baton after corporate raider leaves

Now that activist investor Guy Wyser-Pratte left satellite maker OHB, the German Mittelstand company's 80-year old founder can take a much needed break.

€10-million plus

German executive pay gets supersized

While still lagging their well-heeled American rivals, German CEOs are reaping huge payouts – when their companies turn a profit.

The Monetary toolbox

Is ECB stimulus no better than a placebo?

As the ECB mulls a wind-down of its asset-buying program, economists have already begun a postmortem on its effectiveness. The central bank's mixed signals aren't helping matters.

Legal jeopardy

EU court’s rejection of arbitration may keep away investors

European Court of Justice ruling exposes EU investors to litigation in local courts that may be biased. Non-EU nations like Switzerland or post-Brexit Britain may benefit as channels for investment.

Worst-case worrywarts

German business angst surges on Brexit trade warning

Trade and customs formalities implemented after Britain leaves the European Union will cost German companies €9 billion a year, according to a new study.

Dieselgate lottery

Big bucks for VW drivers in US, not even a software update for Germans

Volkswagen is giving its US customers speedy refunds, compensation and refits in the wake of its emissions scam — luxury treatment that diesel drivers in Germany can only dream of.

China, China, China

Uptick in Chinese investment has German authorities inspecting deals

Dramatic takeovers by Chinese companies in Germany have fueled the debate on the limits of investment freedom, with authorites inspecting all foreign deals.

I thee wed

SPD and CDU: Merkel’s dangerous marriage of convenience

The third installment of Angela Merkel’s “Grand Coalition” is good for Germany in the short term, but comes with considerable political baggage, a leading German-American academic writes.

Tobacco lobby: cigarette sales in Germany

Smoke-free future?

German tobacco lobby strikes back

When Philip Morris wants to quit cigarettes, you know things are bad. With sales declining and e-cigarettes rising, German manufacturers are gathering for a counter-offensive.

Germany labor shortage

Economic boom

Germany looks to immigrants to tackle skilled labor shortage

Germany is facing a major shortage of skilled workers as companies struggle to fill around 1.6 million vacancies. But immigrants could be the solution.


Austrian startup excels in Bitcoin ATMs

Cointed is building a network of Bitcoin ATMs in hopes of persuading ordinary folk to buy cryptocurrencies.

Bye-Bye Diesel

Volkswagen forges ahead on e-cars, committing billions to batteries

The world’s biggest carmaker seeks to put diesel and the emissions scandal behind it with ambitious targets for electric vehicles.

Staying friends

If Trump goes low, Europe should go high

Instead of retaliating tit-for-tat in the trade dispute with the US, Europe should compromise with Donald Trump and win him over, writes a Handelsblatt foreign affairs correspondent.

judgement day

In German courts, the tide is turning against VW

Dieselgate rages on as car owners sue Volkswagen and judges up and down the country condemn the former industrial icon.

remote access

Microsoft and Deutsche Telekom’s ‘German cloud’ wafts away

Microsoft launched a "German-based cloud" for the security conscious only to see it fail. It may have cost the tech giant hundreds of millions, but it helped change German attitudes toward cloud computing.

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