Weekly Review

How we think about Germany’s choices on 24 September

About the horse race, everything that can be said has been said. Our editor-in-chief steps back and ponders the options.

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News Bites

Social Democrat leader Martin Schulz is the most frequently mentioned candidate on Twitter, followed by AfD’s top candidate Alice Weidel, a social media analysis found. Chancellor Angela Merkel comes in a distant fourth.

Prime Minister Theresa May proposed a two-year transition period after Britain leaves the European Union in March 2019, during which London would pay its €20 billion debt to the EU and retain access to the single market.

In a disagreement about restructuring, Volkswagen’s supervisory board backed CEO Matthias Müller with the Porsche and Piëch families which hold 52 percent of VW’s shares.

Merger talks between Deutsche Telekom’s US subsidiary T-Mobile and Sprint are close to completion, paving the way for a US cell phone operator with 130 million customers and sales of $70 billion. (Reuters)

A small Polish lemonade company will no longer sell its produce under the name John Lemon after a complaint from Yoko Ono, the widow of The Beatles singer John Lennon.

Germany’s financial regulator, BaFin, rejected a proposed €10.5-million settlement between Deutsche Börse and the Frankfurt prosecutor’s office to end an investigation for alleged insider trading by CEO Carsten Kengeter.

Two entrepreneurs who lost the first round of a bidding war for the bankrupt Air Berlin said they considered legal action against the creditors’ decision to favor Lufthansa.

Amazon Germany introduced a controversial bonus scheme rewarding teams in which employees take few or no sick days. Doctors and labor law experts say the program could backfire. (N-TV)

Berlin will cap export credit guarantees for German companies doing business in Turkey to €1.5 billion in 2017, a move that exposes firms to higher risk, amid political tensions between the two countries.

Hungary’s prime minister Viktor Orbán, a staunch critic of Chancellor Angela Merkel, told national media he “prays” for her to win Germany’s federal election on Sunday.

Environment and Housing Minister Barbara Hendricks called for a new rental cap after a Berlin court ruled the current law is unconstitutional. She said 40 percent of households living in rented accommodation spend at least one-third of their income on rent.

The Bundesrat, the German equivalent of the US Senate, elected Berlin Mayor Michael Müller as its new speaker. He will succeed Rhineland-Palatinate state premier Malu Dreyer for a one-year term on November 1.

A 24-year old Moroccan was arrested for his suspected role in last month’s terror attack in Barcelona, the Spanish interior ministry said, bringing the number of arrests to five.

Benoît Coeuré, a member of the European Central Bank’s executive board, advised households and companies in the Balkan countries to refrain from borrowing in euros, saying they put themselves at risk of bankruptcy should their national currencies suddenly fluctuate.

A niqab-wearing woman suspected of assaulting the owner of an Arab lingerie shop in Berlin last month was arrested. The Polish-German suspect told police the erotic shop window offended her religious views.

Denmark contemplates introducing a highway toll in 2020, charging foreign motorists up to €130 euros a year. The scheme is based on Germany’s controversial road tax project.

Authorities in Dortmund evacuated 800 residents of a high-rise building to fireproof it after finding that similar cladding was used as on London’s Grenfell Tower. Around 80 people died when fire devastated the British complex in June.

The purchasing managers’ index for the industrial sector and service providers rose by 1.0 point to 56.7 points in September, according to IHS Markit on Friday, exceeding expectations. This suggests the euro zone’s GDP grew by 0.7 percent in the third quarter of 2017.

Varta, a maker of batteries for hearing aids and head seats, plans to enter the stock market this fall after an attempt failed last December in the aftermath of the election of Donald Trump, sources told WirtschaftsWoche.

The Swiss private bank Julius Bär hired Oliver Bartholet, UBS’s regulatory expert, as its new head of risk management. He will replace Bernhard Hodler in this role in April 2018.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan praised Angela Merkel for refraining from criticizing Turkey. The German chancellor “pursues meaningful politics” and the current tensions between both countries would ease, he said. (Reuters)

Steel production at ThyssenKrupp was almost completely halted as employees went on strike against the planned merger with Tata Steel Europe.

Parliament’s legal department cast doubts on the lawfulness of Chancellor Merkel’s 2015 open-door policy, arguing the Bundestag should probably have voted on allowing refugees into the country. (Die Welt)

Germany’s public debt fell by €60 billion to €1.98 trillion in the first half of 2017, a 2.9-percent decrease from the same time last year, the Federal Statistical Office said.

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