News Bites

A Merkel ally criticized Donald Trump’s reaction to the disappearance of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi. The US President effectively gave Saudi Prince Mohammed bin Salman a license to do what he pleases as long as Saudi Arabia buys US weapons, parliamentarian Norbert Röttgen said. (ARD)

German export growth is expected to slow further in 2019 after forecast growth of 3.5% this year, BGA, an export lobby group, said. Current developments are “the beginning of a downward trend.”

Finance Minister Olaf Scholz rejected an overhaul of Germany’s corporate tax system proposed by Economy Minister Peter Altmaier. Scholz will present an R&D tax incentive soon, he said.

European economies might face longer periods of recession as the combination of aging populations, pension obligations and high state-debt levels limit governmental options for mitigating economic downturns, ECB member Peter Praet said.

The European Commission has rejected Italy’s budget plan for 2019, EU budget Commissioner Günther Oettinger told magazine Spiegel.

Mr. Oettinger denied the EU had taken a decision about Italy’s budget, but said on Twitter he assumed the European Commission would demand a change in Rome’s plans for 2019.

At least 17 children and teachers were killed on the Crimean peninsula, which was annexed by Russia in 2014 from Ukraine, after an 18-year old pupil shot randomly at people in his school. Some witnesses also heard an explosion.

Federal prosecutors have taken over the investigation of a Cologne hostage case where the suspect is a 55-year old Syrian refugee. Authorities want to know if the crime was an act of Islamic terrorism.

German industry wants to make diesel cars popular again by improving the technology and restoring consumer trust, carmaker lobbyist VDA said.

Ahead of a Brussels summit about Brexit, Angela Merkel said there was still a chance the European Union could reach a deal with Britain about the latter’s exit from the 28-nation bloc.

German exports to Turkey dropped more than a quarter in August to €1.3 billion following the Mediterranean country’s economic crisis and plunging currency, the lira.

An alleged hack of a Berlin police officer turned out to be a practical joke: A colleague wanted to access the computer to jokingly give himself €1 million in credit for office coffee.

Support for the EU remains high in Germany with an approval rate of 81%, compared with an average figure of 62% in the 28-nation bloc. In Italy and the Czech Republic, approval was lowest at 43% and 39%, respectively.

The former boss of engineering firm Trumpf, Berthold Leibinger, died at the age of 87 after a long illness. He invented machines to punch or shape steel and recognized early the metal-cutting potential of lasers.

German states are lobbying Berlin to allow carmakers to deduct CO2 emissions from their car fleets’ output, based on the usage of synthetic fuels produced with renewable energy. Hydrogen or gasoline made with green power is carbon-neutral.

Soccer star Bastian Schweinsteiger, currently playing for Chicago Fire in the US, became the face of a new campaign to promote Germany’s gambling halls, home to almost 300,000 slot machines nationwide.

Shares in Fresenius Medical Care, the world’s biggest specialist for dialysis treatment, dropped 19% after it cut growth forecasts for full-year revenue and earnings. Its US business, its single biggest market, isn’t doing well. Fresenius Holding dropped 12%.

General Electric will likely trump Siemens in winning an Iraqi government contract worth up to €13 billion after the US administration pushed Baghdad to favor GE. The US company is expected to win a large share of the contract. (FT)

The German Finance Ministry, led by Social Democrat Olaf Scholz, has drafted details of a “European Unemployment Stabilization Fund,” which EU states would finance with contributions. It would loan money to national unemployment funds in times of economic crisis.

The Economics Ministry, led by Angela Merkel’s conservative ally Peter Altmaier, rejected the plan. In the end, Berlin wants to agree with the French government on the proposal to make the 19-nation euro zone more crisis-proof following the 2011-2012 debt bailouts of Greece and other countries.

Germany has the third-best competitive economy in the world after the US and Singapore, scoring high on the factors economic stability, health, infrastructure and innovation capability, which all support productivity. The rankings didn’t change over 2017. (WEF)

European car sales fell 23% in September to 1.1 million vehicles as stricter emissions tests came into force. In August, sales had risen 31% year-on-year. In the first nine months, unit sales were up 2.3%.

Peter Tauber, an ally of Angela Merkel and deputy minister in the Defense Ministry, drew criticism after posting a Twitter message commemorating Nazi general Erwin Rommel’s death 74 years ago, after Hitler’s men forced him to commit suicide.

The conservative politician, a member of Merkel’s CDU, noted that Rommel was part of a resistance movement against Hitler in 1944 and he repeatedly ignored Nazi orders. (Bild)

The far-right party AfD wants to expel a local Berlin representative after photos emerged online showing her and wine bottles with images of Hitler in the background. (RBB)

Interior Minister Horst Seehofer said he would name a new domestic spy chief by early November to replace Hans-Georg Maassen, who was ousted after remarks questioning right-wing disturbances in Chemnitz. (Reuters)

Siemens and Iberdrola said they named David Mesonero, son-in-law of Iberdrola chief Ignacio Galan, CFO of their wind energy joint venture, Siemens Gamesa. Markus Tacke, a former Siemens executive, remains CEO, though Iberdrola claimed the right to name candidates to that position. (Reuters)

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euro-zone reform

Finance Minister Scholz wants pan-European unemployment fund

Troubled countries could borrow money to pay jobless benefits, rather than dig around in their own treasuries to find the cash during times of crisis.

rewe ceo grocery stores germany eu

unfair play

Edeka and Rewe object to EU farmer protection proposal

German cooperative grocers Rewe and Edeka say amendments to a new EU directive designed to protect farmers would undermine their business models.

Syrian refugee

Cologne officials hesitate to label attack ‘terrorism’

A suspect who tried to set a McDonald's on fire and then took a woman hostage at a train station claimed to be a terrorist. But police said the 55-year-old immigrant suffered from mental problems and was drunk.

bavaria fallout

Germany’s Social Democrats are history, and that’s a bad thing

Whatever your politics, the downfall of the SPD is a loss to the political landscape. Sadly, it seems inevitable, writes a Handelsblatt correspondent.

Editors’ Pick

Bertelsmann Foundation

Western democracies on the decline, including Germany

Governments excluding constituents from decision-making, populist polarization and leaders wary of the fourth estate are all chipping away at democracies the world over.

Dive In
russia, nord stream pipeline

firm friends

Why we need to reach out to Russia

It’s wrong to demonize Russia and its government. Economic cooperation and partnership — without avoiding criticism — are the way forward, writes a German state premier.

audi dieselgate fines settlement

Costly absolution

Audi pays €800 million fine to settle Dieselgate probe

VW’s luxury car business will pay a heavy penalty to end the authorities' investigation into Audi’s manipulation of diesel emissions. It won’t be the last fine Volkswagen has to pay.

outgoing beiersdorf ceo

Global Brand

New Beiersdorf CEO is a move for continuity

Beiersdorf, the maker of Nivea and La Prairie, saw its share price double in the last CEO's tenure. The new boss, recruited from the executive board, could take the company to the next level.

life insurance in germany

millennial market

Finally, German insurers offer flexible life insurance for younger customers

Life insurance policies that let clients change and suspend premium payments have been available in other countries for years, but they don’t come cheap.

Emissions cheating

Dieselgate catches up to troubled Opel

Prosecutors raided the French-owned carmaker looking for evidence of emissions fraud, threatening massive recalls and thwarting Opel's comeback attempt.

Empowering Europe

Can euro-zone reform help contain Trump?

If the EU is serious about making the euro a global currency, the trading bloc needs a single finance minister. This would be a bright response to Washington's economic warfare, writes a leading German economist.

Poacher turns gamekeeper

From Goldman Sachs to Germany’s Finance Ministry

Deputy finance minister Jörg Kukies has had a fascinating career: From motorbike-riding Social Democrat, to Goldman Sachs banker with a million dollar salary and, now, back to politics again.

digital desire

High-tech toys dominate at Berlin sex industry trade fair

New sex toys on display at Berlin’s annual Venus trade fair promise to bring you pleasure by integrating with your phone, your virtual assistant and your long-distance lover. They also promise to work on the “orgasm gap.”

Brexit tax

Mittelstand blindsided by Brexit tax bill

As soon as the UK leaves the EU, German businesses with British-based owners could be hit with a massive tax bill, thanks to an obscure law named Lex Horten.

Popular discontent

Merkel’s Bavarian ally suffers historic loss in state vote

The Bavarian sister party of Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats lost its majority in Germany’s wealthiest state. The election outcome will likely have repercussions for the chancellor’s coalition government.

in the bag

The rise and fall of Etienne Aigner, Germany’s luxury handbag brand

When Evi Brandl, one of Germany's richest women, bought luxury handbag-maker Etienne Aigner, it was in debt and mismanaged. Now, it’s thriving.

The new liberals?

The challenge of success for Germany’s Greens

The flip side of a rising Alternative for Germany (AfD) is a rising Green Party. The first stands for a closed Germany, the second for openness. But the Greens must change to live up to their new stature.

Ask a German

Handelsblatt explains

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

Wheeler-dealer

Bavaria’s Pexco speeds toward global e-bike market

Well connected and full of savvy, the heir to a venerable cycle dynasty sets out to grab a sizable chunk of the booming market for e-bikes, in Germany and beyond.

Insure thing

Insurtechs spurring on insurance giants

Digital insurance startups, known as insurtechs, are attracting record levels of investment. But the established industry names aren't worried – they see them as partners in their own modernization.

Pot, meet kettle

VW and RWE bosses trade blows over climate policy

In a newspaper interview, VW’s CEO criticized utility RWE’s efforts to expand a brown-coal strip mine as damaging the environment. The response from RWE’s boss: Physician, heal thyself.

SME Power

Mittelstand

Volkswagen, Bayer and Adidas are household names. But more than 95 percent of Germany's economy is generated by lesser-known firms that aren’t listed on the blue-chip DAX Index.

Gold bricks

German real estate

Long tipped as a rising star in the European market, Germany has finally come into its own. Our series on residential property highlights some favorite cities for expats and investors alike.

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