God is great

The Berlin Muslims reforming Islam, one co-ed prayer meeting at a time

A female cleric. Men and women praying together in the same room. Berlin’s liberal mosques are working toward an Islamic reformation, all while avoiding death threats.

News Bites

Siemens is nearing a deal worth up to €13 billion to boost Iraq’s power generation capacity by half over four years, Handelsblatt has learned. CEO Joe Kaeser met Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Jawad al-Abadi in Baghdad Sunday.

Hans-Georg Maassen will not be promoted to the German interior ministry following his dismissal from the domestic intelligence service, Chancellor Angela Merkel’s fractious cabinet decided on Sunday evening after an outcry.

The disgraced former top spy will become a special advisor in the interior ministry, forgoing a controversial promotion and a €30,000 pay raise, the ruling coalition decided after a third emergency meeting to defuse the Maassen affair.

“There won’t be any Porsche diesels in the future,” CEO Oliver Blume said, adding that three years of Dieselgate tarnished the sports carmaker’s image. The Volkswagen unit is the first German auto giant to ditch the diesel engine. (Bild am Sonntag)

Leading politicians from Germany’s opposition parties have declined to attend a dinner in honor of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan scheduled during his state visit to Berlin next week. Demonstrators across Germany protested against the Turkish leader’s upcoming trip.

Up to 7,000 demonstrators protested the planned destruction of the ancient Hambach forest near Aachen to make way for an open-pit coal mine.

Steve Bannon, Donald Trump’s former chief strategist, met Czech President Miloš Zeman near Prague Sunday for a chat about Europe and relations with Russia. A German far-right AfD lawmaker, Petr Bystron, attended the meeting.

A whopping €270 billion in EU subsidies are unused, mostly because member states fail to claim the funds, the European Court of Auditors said. That’s almost twice the annual budget of the European Union.

Maritime authorities in Panama revoked the registration of the MS Aquarius 2, the last migrant rescue ship currently patrolling the Mediterranean Sea between Libya and Italy. “Reeling” NGOs said the decision followed pressure from Rome.

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Nurali Demir, a German religious figure, was arrested in Turkey on Friday and then released. Another German was released from jail in Turkey. These moves are likely to ease relations ahead of a visit by the Turkish president to Germany next week. (SZ, NDR, WDR)

The number of sick days taken by German workers jumped by 60% between 2008 and 2016, with mental health problems a major driver of the growth, government figures showed.

The European Union is in discussion with Egypt, Morocco, Libya and Tunisia to reach migration deals similar to the one it has with Turkey, Chancellor Angela Merkel said.

The struggling state-owned bank NordLB has started a bidding process to sell off a minority stake. The bank posted a record loss of almost €2 billion in 2016. (Reuters)

The supermarket chain Rewe said it would be happy to buy unusually shaped or colored fruit and vegetables from farmers this autumn to help them ride out the current drought. The lack of rain has affected the growth of fresh produce.

Airbus announced it will soon begin producing airline parts using 3D printing. A titanium door component for A350 aircraft will be the first, reducing weight by around 4kg (8.8 pounds).

The US owner of the German concrete-maker Xella is considering taking it public. Investor Lone Star could launch an IPO early next year, Reuters has learned.

An airline passenger is suing the federal police for €738 in damages after she missed her flight because of long security check queues. The businesswoman, who was flying from Cologne-Bonn to Mallorca, says there were not enough staff. (General Anzeiger)

BMW’s independent German dealerships refused to sign a new contract with the luxury carmaker, saying it would hit their earnings. They want to negotiate a better deal.

The DAX got off to another roaring start Friday morning, almost hitting 12,450 points before falling back to around 12,410 at noon. Ten days ago it was trading under 12,000.

The northern district of Emsland declared a catastrophe so it could get outside help to tackle a moor fire that is threatening homes. The fire was started by the army during missile testing on the moor.

Finance Minister Olaf Scholz, speaking ahead of today’s housing summit, said he wants a ban on the conversion of rental accommodation to owner-occupied homes to ease the housing crisis.

German industry grew more weakly in September than at any time in more than two years. The IHS Markit purchasing managers’ index fell 2.2 points to 53.7 points, indicating order growth ground to a halt.

A new law is set to force airlines operating in Germany to verify the identity of passengers as they board their aircraft. Checks of passports and ID cards at departure gates are currently voluntary.

Economics Minister Peter Altmaier, speaking ahead of today’s housing summit, said the only way to alleviate Germany’s housing crisis is to speed up construction by relaxing building regulations and approvals.

Germany’s far-right AfD party polled in second place for the first time in the respected monthly ARD-DeutschlandTrend survey. It gained two points to poll at 18%, overtaking the SPD. Angela Merkel’s Conservatives finished on 28%.

The government will support an increase in the housing allowance for low earners at today’s housing summit. The meeting, hosted by Chancellor Angela Merkel, is due to address Germany’s housing crisis.

Some 47% of Germans are in favor of fresh federal elections, a survey revealed. Only 32% expect Angela Merkel to become chancellor again if a new vote is held. (Insa/Bild)

Carmaker Opel, part of Peugeot maker PSA, is considering stopping production on several days in October due to falling orders. The number of cars completed per hour will also soon be cut from 42 to 35, sources said. (VRM)

God is great

The Berlin Muslims reforming Islam, one co-ed prayer meeting at a time

A female cleric. Men and women praying together in the same room. Berlin’s liberal mosques are working toward an Islamic reformation, all while avoiding death threats.

Guiding principles

Why the Bundesbank shuns liability-sharing in Europe

Many ideas to strengthen the euro-zone involve a "mutualization of risk" without enough accountability, says Jens Weidmann, boss of Germany's central bank. This oft-repeated message taps into a German school of thought that's easy to spot.


German dealmaking at record pace despite warning signs in the distance

German companies have been involved in deals this year worth more than twice as much as last, making it rain cash on global investment banks.

Trump's casualties

VW may join other German companies scuttling out of Iran

Businesses are beating a retreat, hastened by Washington’s man in Berlin. Many firms had hoped the EU would shelter them; instead, Donald Trump's hard line on Tehran won out.

Editors’ Pick

Smooth operator

Merkel’s best-kept secret is her right-hand man Helge Braun

Merkel's chief of staff, a doctor by training, is one of the most powerful people in Germany and young enough to aim for higher office. But hardly anyone has heard of him.

Dive In


Put this coalition out of its misery

Germany’s governing coalition is not “grand” but pathetic. Why not let it collapse and try minority government? Germans have no reason to fear it.

Nazi crimes

Greece renews battle for war reparations

Now free of its debt crisis aid package, Greece's government is again pressing Berlin to pay billions in compensation for the death and destruction it suffered under German occupation in WWII.

Highly Illogical, Captain

Europeans want more Europe, but less Brussels

The latest YouGov-Handelsblatt survey illustrates Brussels’ publicity problem. Respondents mostly want more Europe, and maybe even a pan-European army, but they don’t like the management one little bit.

Ask a German

Handelsblatt explains

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

Assault on battery

EU backs German plan to subsidize e-car battery production

Berlin won support from the European Union to fund the production of electric car batteries to overcome companies' reticence to invest in a sector dominated by Asia.

Fuel from Wind

Germany aims to take lead on fuels made with green power

A new industrial alliance aims to boost development and production of synthetic fuels made with renewable energy. Experts say that otherwise, Germany will miss its CO2 reduction targets.

SME Power


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.

Union Jack's

Tesco throws down gauntlet to Aldi and Lidl

Germany’s discount food retailers have doubled their market share in Britain in just five years, worrying the major supermarkets. Now Tesco plans to beat them at their own game, with a cut-price chain called Jack’s.

causa maassen

Merkel-Seehofer standoff shows a balance of weakness, not power

The fundamental dispute tearing apart the coalition is refugee policy, and that will continue to be the case even if the players change, writes a Handelsblatt political correspondent.

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.

Electrify me

Germany’s failed e-car policy needs a fix

Widely expected, but now official: Germany will not have 1 million electric cars on the road by 2020. Angela Merkel’s e-car adviser proposes new investments to reach the target, cleverly moving the deadline to 2022.


EU expands emissions probe of German carmakers

The European Commission is extending its probe into collusion over emissions rigging to include gasoline engines. The move could hugely increase German carmakers' exposure to fines.

1MDB mess

Deutsche Bank exec linked to Malaysia fund scandal

Investigators in Singapore are probing the role of a Deutsche Bank manager in the multibillion-dollar 1MDB Malaysian state fund corruption scandal.

Business Leadership

The German soccer coach vs the American football coach

Germans and Americans have very different expectations about leadership. That often leads to problems when they work together in business, explains an American consultant living in Germany, in the fifth part of a series.

Good Cop, Bad Cop

Despite different strategies, US, EU and Japan united to curb China

European diplomats are pleased. While the US loudly announces new tariffs on China, the EU is quietly planning more negotiations as the pressure on China increases.

Even pricier

Starbucks to make German outlets chicer together with Amrest

Starbucks is feeling the heat from global rivals and is responding by going upmarket. In Germany, it’s trying to resume its stalled growth with the help of Polish catering group Amrest.

ruhrgebiet, ruhr valley, german startups

Watch Out, Berlin

Could the Ruhr area be Germany’s next startup hot spot?

The Ruhr Valley gave Germany its first industrial revolution; now entrepreneurs want to launch a new one. The advantages are great, but so are the hurdles.


Domestic spy chief Maassen forced into new, high-ranking role

Chancellor Angela Merkel's coalition removed the controversial head of the country's domestic spy agency but stopped short of firing him to avoid government collapse.

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