News Bites

Germany slipped again in the annual ranking of the world’s most competitive economies by Swiss business school IMD, falling to 15th place in 2018, compared with 6th place in 2014. (Reuters)

The EU called upon Berlin to improve its tax system in order to encourage more public and private investment. Germany should also better support research, education and the broadband network.

The organizer of the Love Parade was questioned in court as part of an investigation into what went wrong at the event in Duisburg in 2010, when 21 people were killed and hundreds more injured.

Deutsche Bank plans to cut 10,000 jobs to reduce its costs faster. Many are likely to be in the bank’s global investment banking.

Fearful of a transfer union, 154 economists and professors wrote to a German daily warning against French President Emmanuel Macron’s proposals for a shared European budget and a single finance minister for the euro zone. (FAZ)

Health Minister Jens Spahn presented a plan to create 13,000 new posts in nursing care.

Illegal drug use in Germany increased for the seventh consecutive year. More people are using cannabis and cocaine and authorities registered 330,000 cases of drug-related offences in 2017.

The Central European University might have to leave Budapest if the government refuses to grant it a permit. Hungary’s new higher education laws have been criticized as overly stringent.

A study of German companies bought by China shows most are technology specialists. Additionally most of them are in Baden-Würrtemberg (23%), followed by North Rhine-Westphalia (20%), then Bavaria (16%).

Experts defused a 250-kilo bomb from World War II on Tuesday in Dresden, after 8,700 people were evacuated.

A Hungarian TV channel mistook a joke for news. They thought that the German city of Essen – meaning “food” – was changing its name to Fasten – or “to fast” – for the Muslim celebration of Ramadan.

The Alternative for Germany, a populist far-right party, was accused of offering to pay supporters to join a Berlin demonstration. The AfD denied the report, saying it was simply about hiring a bus to bring supporters to Berlin.

Hamburg will ban older diesel cars from two streets, starting at the end of the month, in order to reduce pollution. This is the first of Germany’s long-threatened diesel bans.

Ministers agreed to a draft law to compensate utilities RWE and Vattenfall for loss of profits related to Germany’s transition to green energy. The sum will be determined in 2023 when the last reactor is switched off.

EU trade commissioner, Cecilia Malmström, was pessimistic about prospects for a further exemption for the EU from US tariffs for steel and aluminum. The current exemption runs out in a week.

From January to April this year, Germany only approved one in three asylum applications, down from 43% last year. (Die Welt)

Europe has clear fiscal rules and these should be kept, said Benoît Cœuré, a French economist and ECB board member, in an indirect warning to the prospective Italian government. Rumored election promises would cost more than Italy should spend. (Die Zeit)

A record two thirds of citizens in the EU – and 75% of Germans – say their country profits from being a member of the bloc. That is the highest level of satisfaction since 1983. (DPA)

Germany’s Bundeswehr has lost 75 firearms and 57,000 bullets to theft since 2010, according to a classified defense ministry report. (Spiegel)

Former Deutsche Bank boss Josef Ackermann defended his time there after he was criticized by the bank’s chief economist David Folkerts-Landau. When he left, Mr. Ackermann said, the bank had been making “handsome profits.” (NZZ)

Germany’s financial regulator said if a new financial crisis occurs, it could wind down a major international bank without needing a bailout from tax payers thanks to new regulations. (Reuters)

OMV, an Austrian oil and gas company, said it will stick to its plans in Iran despite the US leaving the Iran nuclear deal.

A record 112,200 foreigners took German citizenship in 2017. That includes 7,493 Britons, up from 622 in 2015. Statisticians believe Brexit is partially to blame.

German e-car battery maker, Sonnen, has secured €60 million in financing, mostly from Shell. The latter wants to work with Sonnen on charging infrastructure.

Foreign Minister Heiko Maas defended the Iran deal during his visit to Washington, saying Germany and Europe are determined to protect it.

Berliners’ life expectancy has risen to 80.5, a record nine years longer than 35 years ago.

Prosecutors have opened an investigation of the head of the German immigration office, Jutta Cordt, on suspicion of abetting illegal residence, the tabloid Bild reported.

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg got off easy at a European Parliament hearing, in part because the format left him little time to respond to questions about data privacy, fake news, and monopoly power.

Hans-Christoph Hirt, head of shareholder adviser Hermes EOS, joined other proxy firms questioning the future of Deutsche Bank chairman Paul Achleitner. He urged the board to start looking at a succession plan.

Goodbye, America

German carmakers giddy as China lowers tariffs

While the US threatens to raise tariffs on steel, China is lowering them on cars. Germany, stuck in the middle, may have to rethink both relationships.

Think small

From VW to Siemens, German businesses join spin-off boom

Corporate divestment is en vogue and fueling a surge in mergers and acquisitions around the world. Notoriously cautious Germany has joined the frenzy with Daimler, Continental and others considering breakups.

Rules, rules, rules

German politicians warn Italy’s new government

As Italy awaited the nomination of a new prime minister, German lawmakers warned the country’s incoming populist coalition of “playing with fire.” Its policies pose a risk to the euro zone.

Blame game

Deutsche Bank chief economist lashes out at former CEO Ackermann

Reckless expansion into investment banking by Deutsche's former bosses put Germany's biggest lender in its current mess, argues David Folkerts-Landau. Its high-flying Swiss ex-boss refuted the claim.

Editors’ Pick

Butt out

How Germany is smoking other countries in e-cigarette regulation

Regulations-heavy Germany has taken a surprisingly lax stance on e-cigarettes and vaping laws. It's the right approach, writes a policy analyst.

Dive In

Getting off Easy

Facebook’s Zuckerberg is home free after European Parliament meeting

Social network pioneer Mark Zuckerberg skated through his European Parliament hearing as the format left him little time to answer the questions he cherry-picked.

Playing with fire

Germany’s main opposition party is talking just like Hitler did

The far-right AfD routinely uses words that were employed by the Nazis to rubbish critics and stir up hatred, a German linguist says. That’s causing concern among politicians as well as security officials.

News Gallery

In case you missed it

German space missions, American Nazis, Italian pushovers and why Brits are becoming Deutsch.

defying the donald

German banks stand by Iran despite ‘strongest sanctions in history’

Six small credit unions in southern Germany are still processing payments to Iran, undaunted by the wrath of Trump.

Extracting concessions

New populist coalition puts Italy on collision course with EU

The new governing accord of Italy’s two anti-establishment parties poses the biggest challenge to the European Union since Britain voted to leave the bloc two years ago. Germans fear a financial blackmail of sorts is coming.

Changing of the guard

Weidmann signals the obvious: He wants the ECB’s top job

The Bundesbank’s president steps up his bid to succeed European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi next year, and calls for a swift end to the bank’s controversial bond purchasing scheme.

truancy

Families charged for pulling children out of school over Pentecost long weekend

School-aged children are legally obliged to attend school in Germany. And parents who try to take their children out of school without permission, regardless of the reason, face prosecution.

Ask a German

Handelsblatt explains

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

Power Grab

China’s renewed bid for power grid network 50Hertz worries Berlin

Chinese electricity giant SGCC is trying again to buy a 20 percent stake in 50Hertz, one of Germany’s four grid operators. Berlin is worried and so are rivals.

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.

Rising Star

Germany’s Vestner takes elevators to the next level

A father-son duo at the Mittelstand company is experimenting with high-tech elevators that one day even robots could use.

Brexit with Benefits

How German companies can capitalize on Brexit

Surveys predict doom and gloom for companies with British business ties, but in reality many take a wait-and-see attitude. Some are even increasing UK production.

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