Hipster horticulture

Schrebergarten culture’s gnomes make way for Zen gardens

The centuries-old German lifestyle around allotment gardens, or schrebergarten, is in flux. Out: old guys with beer bellies and sandals. In: hipsters with high-tech grills.

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News Bites

Environment Minister Svenja Schulze will convene a meeting with representatives of energy-intensive business sectors in early July to discuss a new plan for curbing CO2 emissions. Germany has admitted it will miss its CO2 goals for 2020.

Finance ministers Olaf Scholz of Germany and Bruno le Maire of France achieved “real progress” on EU reforms in Hamburg over the weekend, according to EU sources. German business lobbies warned against more cross-border fiscal guarantees.

Just over half of German companies operating in the United States plan new investments and hiring because of US corporate tax reforms passed late last year, according to an AHK survey. (WirtschaftsWoche)

Interior Minister Horst Seehofer reportedly told CSU party officials that “I can no longer work with that woman” in reference to Angela Merkel, as a standoff over asylum policy continued. (Welt am Sonntag)

Employer association BDA in a new position paper said artificial intelligence offers “enormous opportunities” for companies and workers in Germany. It cautioned Berlin not to curb progress over future-of-work concerns.

Hans-Eckhard Sommer, an official from Bavaria’s interior ministry, will reportedly take over as head of Germany’s refugee agency BAMF. Interior Minister Horst Seehofer fired BAMF’s current head Jutta Cordt on Friday over an ongoing asylum scandal.

Austrian real-estate investor René Benko will acquire furniture chain Kika/Leiner from its bankrupt parent Steinhoff for €550 million plus €100 million in debt.

Bavaria’s CSU is likely to give Angela Merkel more time to reach a European solution to the refugee crisis, the CSU’s deputy party head said, temporarily setting aside a crisis that had threatened to topple the German chancellor.

Canadian investment bank RBC Capital Markets plans to double its Frankfurt staff to 40 peiple, turning the bureau into a European hub in light of Brexit.

If elections were held today, Germany’s “grand coalition” would fail to get a majority. Christian Democrats would win 30 percent and the Social Democrats 16 percent, according to a Forsa poll.

French President Emmanuel Macron said he expects a deal on completing Europe’s banking union “in the coming weeks.” France, Germany and the EU have haggled for months over the details of a common euro-zone deposit insurance.

The German parliament has passed legislation that will once again allow asylum seekers to apply for their families to come to Germany, though the total number of permits granted will be capped at 1,000 per month.

A tweet, posted under a fake account by satirical news site Titanic, duped numerous media into reporting that Germany’s conservative coalition had been dissolved. The DAX even plunged 0.4% before the news bulletins were corrected.

Chancellor Angela Merkel publicly admitted for the first time that Germany is unlikely to meet its NATO commitment to raise annual defense spending to 2% of GDP by 2025, hitting 1.5% in 2024 instead.

Though still awaiting details, Airbus will “probably” not be in a position to deliver an Iranian order for 97 planes because of US sanctions, said Guillaume Faury, head of its civil aviation division. (Hamburger Abendblatt)

Police conducted raids of numerous apartments in a Cologne housing complex where a Tunisian man was arrested Thursday for producing ricin. Authorities suspect the poison was “very likely” being produced for a planned terrorist attack.

Boris Becker called his bankruptcy a “farce” that left him “no other choice” but to claim diplomatic immunity based on his role as a special attaché for the Central African Republic, according to his filing to end proceedings in a British court.

The European Union’s overall trade deficit fell slightly to €8.3 billion in the first four months of the year. Its surplus with the United States hit €45.4 billion in the January-April period, up from €38.8 billion in the previous year.

Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, seen as a potential successor to Angela Merkel, has lobbied CDU party members to back the embattled chancellor’s refugee policy amid a serious standoff within the conservative movement. (Bild Zeitung)

Eurostat confirmed a preliminary estimate that annual inflation in the euro zone climbed to 1.9% in May. The news comes one day after the ECB said it would end quantitative easing by December.

Online furniture retailer Home24, which debuted on the Frankfurt stock exchange at a price of €28.50, saw its stock price surge 30% in morning trading. It marks the fourth IPO of Rocket Internet.

Though inequality is lower, Germany struggles more with social mobility than other developed countries like the United States, according to the OECD. Just 9% of children from low-income families will earn a high salary, compared to 50% of children from wealthy families.

Employment in German manufacturing rose 2.7% in April to 5.6 million, the highest level since records began in 2005.

Newly-privatized HSH Nordbank still hasn’t managed to post a profit, reporting a €60 million loss in the first quarter of 2018. Its CEO urged patience amid a “multi-year” transformation.

The Bundesbank sees Germany’s economy growing just 2% this year, down from a forecast of 2.5% in December. The revision is due to heightened global uncertainty, central bank boss Jens Weidmann said. Forecasts were raised slightly for 2019 and 2020.

Passenger numbers have more than doubled on a high-speed train route from Berlin to Munich, Deutsche Bahn said, exceeding its targets and perhaps justifying the €10-billion investment. (DPA)

New passenger car registrations rose just 0.8% year-over-year in May after a nearly 10% gain in April. Germany saw registrations decline 5.8%.

Record low unemployment is dissuading Germans from going solo: The number of new businesses created in Germany fell 7.3% year-over-year in the first quarter of 2018.

German political parties will get an additional €25 million per year in campaign financing, bringing the total to €190 million. The funding was approved by the governing coalition over objections from opposition parties, which are considering a court challenge.

Apple said it supports 1.57 million workers across Europe, either directly or indirectly through suppliers and app developers. New figures show the greatest concentration in Germany, where 262,000 employees spread over 767 companies are reliant on the US firm.

Allianz could introduce a mobile payment app in Germany, says Klaus-Peter Röhler, CEO of the insurer’s German subsidiary. Allianz Prime, developed with Visa and Wirecard, is currently being tested in Italy.

new world order

The old world is dying, and Europe must seize the moment

A new era in global affairs has begun, says former German foreign minister Sigmar Gabriel: Germany and Europe must seize the moment.

Hipster horticulture

Schrebergarten culture’s gnomes make way for Zen gardens

The centuries-old German lifestyle around allotment gardens, or schrebergarten, is in flux. Out: old guys with beer bellies and sandals. In: hipsters with high-tech grills.

Time Presses

Whispers of delaying break with EU circulate as Brexit deadline looms

The EU would be willing to extend the March 2019 deadline, because no one is willing to jeopardize the peace in Northern Ireland, sources in Brussels say.

Taper but no tantrum

Draghi has barbed words for Germany as ECB sets end to asset purchases

ECB President Mario Draghi surprised some by announcing an end to the bank's bond-buying program in 2018, though he plans to leave interest rates unchanged through summer 2019. Now it's up to governments to pick up the slack.

Editors’ Pick

More EU, less Trump

Germany’s economics minister to US: No more Mister Nice Guy

This week, coming after the disastrous G7 summit and the threat of US tariffs on German cars, there’s been a change of tone at the highest levels in Berlin. It's a change that will bring the EU closer together.

Dive In

Asylum meltdown

‘Axis’ against Merkel

In a dangerous swipe at Chancellor Angela Merkel, her own interior minister is siding with the Austrian and Italian governments to forge a right-wing “axis of the willing” to curb immigration. Conservative lawmakers threaten with a vote on refugee policy in the Bundestag.

News gallery

In case you missed it

The NSU's seventh victim, diplomat Boris Becker, expanding train ridership and the department known as "L".

#WorldCupRussia2018

Soccer and the open society

One in three players on the German soccer squad has foreign roots. That's why society has a lot to learn from sports about "integration."

Digital Payments

Germany’s Wirecard cashes in on the cashless market’s global boom

A surge in online shopping has turned the payments market into a battleground for financial startups. Germany's best-known provider Wirecard placed its focus abroad, not on its cash-loving homeland, to rise above its competitors.

Dieselgate

VW gets €1 billion fine in Germany for diesel fraud

Prosecutors imposed one of the largest fines ever on a German company, while criminal investigations against numerous current and former employees continue.

Ask a German

Handelsblatt explains

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

Less is More

Lidl remains hopeful as it alters US strategy

After some missteps in its first year, the discount supermarket chain Lidl is switching its focus to smaller, more centrally located stores.

world cup, turkey, saudi arabia

Loyalty Shot

Plenty of politics accompany German team to World Cup

A controversial photo shoot of two German players of Turkish descent with Turkey’s president has roiled fans and angered politicians ahead of the World Cup. The incident has also dampened team spirit.

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.

CSU hissy fit

Merkel facing revolt as conservatives demand asylum clampdown

The chancellor is growing isolated as her party colleagues join her hawkish Bavarian allies in calling for tighter migration policies. If she fails to assert her authority, her days as chancellor could be numbered.

power to europe

Let’s stop fighting and use Trump’s hating to help us unite

Europe should seize on Donald Trump’s hostility towards it as an opportunity to become a stronger force in the world, writes the head of the SPD Economic Forum.

Germans and hogs

How pigs rooted their way into the German language

Germans have long had an unusually intense relationship with pigs, which shows up in peculiar phrases in everyday conversations, often harkening back to the Middle Ages in ways good and bad.

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