News Bites

Manfred Weber, campaigning for the presidency of the European Commission, said he may try to become both head of Bavaria’s CSU party as well as top the EU Commission. Current statues don’t permit dual roles.

He also said he is in favor of a pan-European military controlled by the European parliament. However, he said diplomacy must always take precedent over brawn.

A head-on collision between two school buses in southern Germany injured 40, including both schoolchildren and adults, some severely.

The environmental Greens, center-left SPD and business-friendly FDP met Thursday to discuss a possible coalition government in Hesse. The CDU and Greens are also in talks to continue a coalition there.

Flight attendants of Eurowings, Lufthansa’s discount carrier, are preparing a strike after months of fruitless wage talks, union Verdi said. Eurowings said it was surprised and that talks had been constructive.

Interior Minister Horst Seehofer scheduled yet another press conference about his professional future for Friday. A party official said it’s unclear whether Seehofer will discuss his job as leader of Bavaria’s CSU party or his ministerial post. (DPA)

A government forecast of 1.8% economic growth this year is now unrealistic, leading economists said on Thursday, after the German economy shrank 0.2% in the third quarter. (Reuters)

Chancellor Angela Merkel praised the current Brexit agreement amid protest in the UK. “You have to see the alternatives and then ask: Is what we have a foundation? I hope that this can be such a foundation,” she said.

Deutsche Bahn hopes to hire 24,000 new employees by the end of the year, 10,000 more than its annual average, to counter quality problems that are irking customers. Engineers, conductors and on-board service personnel are especially needed.

A regional court may ban diesel vehicles on part of the A40 Autobahn through Essen to cut pollution levels to within legal limits. It would be the first-ever diesel ban on a German highway.

Amid a controversy about an illegal donation from Switzerland, the populist AfD party said it had identified and returned another suspicious €150,000 donation in February from a Belgian foundation.

Deutsche Börse, operator of Frankfurt’s exchange, hired 720 new employees through October as new CEO Theodor Weimer pushes for growth. The bourse also firing 350 employees in less-promising positions.

Natural resources company K+S cut its full-year profit forecast after an ongoing drought hamstrung production. Operating earnings should reach as much as €630 million this year, compared to €577 million in 2017 and an earlier forecast of €740 million.

Despite tougher emissions regulations, Europeans registered 1.6% more cars through October over a year earlier. Still, VW saw registrations fall 21.5% in October while Daimler added 7.5% and BMW 14.5%, according to the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association.

The 54,000 creditors of bankrupt container company P&R may get some of their money back after a Swiss unit worth hundreds of millions of euros was transferred to the troubled German division, administrator Michael Jaffé said.

Carmaker Opel, a unit of France’s PSA, signed a contract on Thursday to move as many as 2,000 engineers to services company Segula after former parent General Motors canceled development contracts with Opel.

Fashion house Hugo Boss said during an investors meeting that it hopes to boost sales as much as 7% annually through 2022 by increasing online sales — currently 5% of turnover — as well as its Asian business. Sales last year rose just 3%.

Swiss competition regulators are investigating Credit Suisse, UBS and other lenders for colluding to keep cellular phone payment apps from Apple and Samsung off the market to the benefit their TWINT mobile payment service.

Michael Vassiliadis, head of the IG BCE mining union, rejected calls to shutter all coal-fired power plants before 2040 because it would lead to massive layoffs. He is part of a commission planning Germany’s exit from coal.

The number of illegal immigrants entering Europe is likely to fall by a third this year to 118,900 cases, EU border guard agency Frontex said. The last time the numbers were so low was in 2013. (DPA)

VW expects sales in China, its biggest market, to slow as consumers fret over a slowing economy and a trade war with the US. After 5% sales growth in China through September, it now expects just 2%.

German startups will collect a record €4.3 billion in investments this year, up from €2.9 billion in 2017, according to Dealroom. The country is now home to 28 unicorns — startups worth over $1 billion — second only to the UK.

Henkel, maker of Persil detergent and Loctite adhesives, expects to meet its full-year sales target of up to 4% growth as brisk demand for industrial products offset weakness in its US business.

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Daily briefing

Spahn goes after AKK and Merz, and everybody wins

Germany’s 3Q dip; Brexit, why are we celebrating?; Spahn reminds AKK that he’s gay. Here's our Daily Briefing for November 15, 2018.

Be our guest

Germany pins hopes on immigration law to fill skilled-worker gap

Despite hiccups and criticism, a draft of Germany's first-ever, liberalized immigration law addresses the most urgent concerns of business.

GDP down

Germany’s third-quarter economic downturn does not herald recession

The economy is slowing, but the country's first decline in more than three years was due to the special factor of auto production, experts say.

Delivery Service

Germany’s Eatclever seeking funds for foreign expansion

Eatclever, a food delivery startup specializing in soups, wraps and noodle dishes, wants to find new investors to help it go international in a fast-growing market.

Editors’ Pick

Big-tent parties

Why the CDU, CSU and SPD are losing voters, and how to win them back

Germany's big-tent parties in the political center are in a slow-motion crisis. The author of a new book on their malaise offers some advice.

Dive In

Mutual Respect

Popularity of teaching profession across Europe is worst in Germany

Most Germans wouldn't recommend their children become teachers, according to a major international survey. The less respect teachers get in society, the worse the students will perform.

Merger Vindicated?

Monsanto boosts Bayer profit even as legal risk mounts

Lawsuits against the glyphosate-based Roundup are multiplying but that hasn't impacted sales of the weedkiller.

Swan song

Merkel backs Macron call for European army in European Parliament speech

Chancellor extols ideals of European solidarity but maintains strictly German perspective.

Budget Discipline

Let the markets chasten Italy’s populists

The EU must stand firm and let markets pressure the Italian government into backing down in its budget dispute with Brussels, writes Commerzbank chief economist Jörg Krämer.

Intellectual property

Patent, trademark protection for German firms at risk in no-deal Brexit

Europe-wide protections for trademarks and design, as well as patent extensions, would no longer apply in Britain if there is a no-deal Brexit.

Overstaying His Welcome

Horst Seehofer gives up party post, wants to stay in cabinet

Interior Minister Horst Seehofer is stepping down as the CSU's party chief after electoral losses. But he's holding on tight to his government post in a break with parliamentary protocol, though there are strong candidates for the job.

Two worlds meet

Germany’s family-run companies turn venture capitalists, fund startups

The Mittelstand is investing in German startups in the hopes of learning from its younger, more nimble peers. Meanwhile, the startups are hoping to tap the Mittelstand's deep pockets.


SAP buying Qualtrics to face off against Salesforce

German software maker SAP surprised investors with the high-priced, $8 billion acquisition to help clients improve their relationships with their own customers.

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.

Pressure on Berlin

French finance minister: We need a European empire

European unity should be more than just a photo opportunity, France’s Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said in an exclusive interview. But while France is more than willing, Germany remains reluctant.

Brexit banking

Deutsche Bank still calling London home, for now

Deutsche Bank is moving fewer operations to Frankfurt than expected. Despite slashing hundreds of UK-based investment banking jobs, the lender says London will remain crucial to its global business after Brexit.

bavarian contrarian

Horst Seehofer to step down as CSU party chair

Media reports suggest Germany’s interior minister will resign as CSU party leader this week, and may step down as minister early next year.

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.

Winds of change

Streamlining Europe’s truck fleets to meet CO2 targets

EU freight transport will become a lot greener as tractor-trailer makers bone up on aerodynamics. Now that Brussels has weighed in with new emissions limits, the Germans are getting with the program.

Ask a German

Handelsblatt explains

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

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